China condemns US sanctions over 'North Korea funding'


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Reuters

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The US says China can do the most to impose economic pain on Kim Jong-un’s regime

China has reacted angrily to a US decision to impose sanctions on a Chinese bank accused of laundering North Korean money.

A foreign ministry spokesman urged the US to “stop wrongful actions” to avoid harming co-operation.

The US announced the move, as well as sanctions on a Chinese shipping company and two Chinese nationals, on Thursday.

It said the blacklisting was aimed at cutting funds to North Korea’s weapons programmes.

“We will follow the money and cut off the money,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a news conference.

But he said the move was not a response to Chinese inaction on North Korea, saying: “This is not directed at China, this is directed at a bank, as well as individuals and entities in China.”

The UN has already imposed several rounds of sanctions on Pyongyang, but China is widely seen as the nation most able to impose economic pain on North Korea.

Washington has been pushing Beijing for tougher measures amid a series of missile tests by Pyongyang. But in a tweet earlier this month, President Donald Trump said China’s actions had “not worked out”.

The sanctions mean that the Bank of Dandong will be barred from doing business in the US.

The US Treasury said it had been “a conduit for illicit North Korean financial activity” and facilitated “millions of dollars of transactions for companies involved in North Korea’s WMD (weapons of mass destruction) and ballistic missile programmes”.

Two Chinese nationals accused of creating front companies for North Korean entities and a shipping company, Dalian Global Unity Shipping, accused of smuggling luxury goods to North Korea, have also been blacklisted.

Mr Mnuchin said that the US could impose more sanctions in the future.

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AFP

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Mr Trump and Mr Xi were all smiles at Mar-a Lago in April

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said the US action went “against the important spirit” of the apparently friendly meeting between Mr Trump and US President Xi Jinping at the US president’s Florida resort in April.

The sanctions came as the US announced the sale of $1.42bn (£1.09bn) worth of arms to Taiwan, the first such transaction under the Trump administration.

US arms sales to Taiwan always anger Beijing because it considers the self-governing island part of its territory.

It also came as new South Korean President Moon Jae-in visited Washington for talks with Mr Trump on security issues.



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