China puts squeeze on North Korea as trade dries up

China puts squeeze on North Korea as trade dries up

In total, the USA has blacklisted 23 entities and 22 individuals linked to North Korea since the launch of the Trump administration in January.

"The Treasury will continue to increase pressure on North Korea by targeting those who support the advancement of nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and isolating them from the American financial system", stated US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Trade between China and North Korea looks to be slowing drastically, providing further evidence that Beijing may be bowing to USA requests to put pressure on the rogue state.

The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday issued new designations against entities and individuals in China, Russia, Singapore, and Namibia for links to North Korea's weapons programs, mineral trade and use of overseas labor.

Just hours after the US Treasury announcement on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he was "pleased" to see the DPRK had "demonstrated some level of restraint that we've not seen in the past", referring to the fact that the DPRK has not conducted any test since the Aug 5 UN Security Council resolution.

According to the Treasury Department, the sanctions are aimed at disrupting cash flow to North Korea.

"We also noted that many country leaders also said the Korean peninsula issue should be peacefully resolved and the call for dialogue, peace and deescalation, rather than confrontation, war and mutual provocation, represents the common voice of the global community".

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"No Chinese banks were targeted, but that's the next level".

China backed new United Nations sanctions against North Korea earlier this month and announced last week that it was upholding them by banning imports of iron, iron ore and seafood from its neighbour. Treasury Department, at least three Chinese companies are responsible for importing half a billion dollars of coal from North Korea.

The data also provided details on the effect of the sanctions to North Korean coal imports; in the first quarter, Pyongyang shipped 2.7 million tons of coal valued at $220.6 million to China, accounting for 43 % of its total imports then. Calls placed to the other firms went unanswered.

Proceedings have been launched against Velmur Management Pte Ltd., based in Singapore, as well as the Chinese company Dandong Chengtai Trading Co. Ltd.

Kirakosyan claimed in an interview with TASS on August 22 that he never made any deals with North Korea, although he talked with Pyongyang at least five years ago about supplying Armenian wine and cigarettes.

The sanctions effectively block their targets from accessing much of the global financial system, as well as freezing any U.S. assets.

The actions by the Justice Department came on the same day as the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) separately imposed fresh North Korean sanctions against a string of Chinese and Russian firms for supporting Pyongyang, including the companies at the heart of the Justice Department's case.

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