The White House moved to cut off China’s Bank of Dandong from the US banking system for alleged illegal financial ties with companies involved in North Korea’s weapons program, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, announcing the new sanctions at the White House on Thursday, said the administration will continue to roll out sanctions against companies with links to Pyongyang’s weapons program, according to the newspaper.
“We are committed to cutting off all illegal funds going to North Korea,” Mnuchin was quoted as saying. “North Korea’s provocative, destabilizing and inhumane behavior will not be tolerated.”
“We are committed to targeting North Korea’s external enablers and maximizing economic pressure on the regime until it ceases its nuclear and ballistic missile programs,” he said.
Mnuchin said Thursday’s action isn’t intended as a message to China.
Under the proposed sanctions, the bank will not be able to access the US financial system either directly or indirectly, the Journal said.
The move comes as North Korea steps up its missile tests and after the death of American student Otto Warmbier, who had been sent home in a coma after more than a year in a North Korean prison.
The Treasury said the bank, based in a port city that borders North Korea, serves as a conduit for Pyongyang to gain access to US and international financial systems, thereby evading sanctions against the regime.
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