With eye on China, Trump may up pressure on North Korea

With eye on China, Trump may up pressure on North Korea

In a statement, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pledged US commitment to maximize pressure on North Korea until it abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile program.

Bank of Dandong which "acts as a conduit for illicit North Korean financial activity, is a foreign bank of primary money laundering concern", and will be severed from the United States financial system, the Treasury said in a statement.

The United States slapped unprecedented sanctions Thursday on a Chinese bank accused of laundering North Korean cash after Donald Trump said Beijing's efforts to put the brakes on Pyongyang's nuclear drive had failed.

And while Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the move was not targeted at China's government, it is likely to infuriate Beijing which says it has been unstinting in its efforts to ease tensions with North Korea.

China, which borders North Korea and is considered its only major ally, argues that negotiations are the best way to persuade it to halt its nuclear and missile activities.

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"We are in no way targeting China with these actions", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at a briefing. The step comes ahead of President Trump's visit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Washington has repeatedly urged China to exert more economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea in response to North Korea's ongoing efforts to build missiles and its violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

"The takeaway is China is still not doing what China needs to be doing, and while we're working with them in a very cooperative way right now, my sense is if they don't step up soon we're going to then move to the coercive mode, which means secondary sanctions", Corker said.

He says the U.S.is committed to cutting off all illegal funds to North Korea, which conducts 90 percent of its foreign trade through China.

The United States will also impose sanctions on two Chinese individuals and a Chinese shipping company that are believed to have assisted North Korea with its nuclear and missile programs.

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In this regard, he said Pakistan was grateful to China for its constructive proposals for promoting peace and harmony in the region.

Mnuchin said the USA would continue to look at other penalties that can be imposed on North Korea and that the topic will be on the agenda when Trump meets with other leaders of major economic powers at the Group of 20 summit next week in Germany.

'While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out.

-Dalian Global Unity Shipping Co., which Treasury accused of transporting 700,000 tons of freight annually, including coal and steel products, between China and North Korea.

And even as Trump administration officials stressed that a stepped-up campaign of diplomacy and economic pressure remains the administration's preferred strategy, Trump is also keeping military options on the table.

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