U.S. imposes new sanctions on Chinese, Russian firms over North Korea
25 August, 2017, 01:39 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
During a news conference Wednesday, China Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the U.S. Treasury's new sanctions will not alleviate the ongoing conflict between the United States and North Korea. But the Chi case, in addition to showing how porous the sanctions have been, underscore how the North Korean weapons program has relied on the country's coal exports to China - which were booming until earlier this year.
The U.S.is seeking the forfeiture of more than $4 million that Dandong Chengtai wired on June 21 to an affiliated company, Maison Trading Limited, using Chinese bank accounts.
The move follows a war of words between Washington and Pyongyang over recent missile tests that show North Korea is capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
The Russian embassy did not respond to a request for comment.
They included three Chinese coal importers.
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OFAC also designated two companies and an individual for their involvement in the exportation of workers from North Korea.
The Treasury claims the sanctions are in line with the internationally agreed measures against North Koreas missile and nuclear weapons programs.
It was the US transactions involving Chi's companies that led the Department of Justice to seek on Tuesday the forfeiture of $4 million in funds. Also targeted is China's Dandong Rich Earth Trading Co.
The latest steps stopped short of targeting Chinese financial institutions dealing with North Korea, a step that would have greatly angered Beijing. "Where Obama was largely waiting out Pyongyang and doing little to squeeze them, Trump's pressure tactics could bite, but require that same strategic patience".
"The really important point here is the large scale these sanction-evading companies are operating at and the access to the global financial system they are giving North Korea".
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"However, there are missing elements".
In early July, after tensions with Pyongyang escalated, US prosecutors disclosed their effort to seize millions of dollars linked to North Korean entities from eight global banks. "In addition, these Chinese networks likely have additional front companies operating on behalf of the network and those were not sanctioned". "This is the reason why sanctions alone will not lead anywhere, they can not change the reality, as the Iranian issue already proved - whatever our opponents say, it was not sanctions that helped move forward the stalled negotiation process but the Iranian and USA authorities' willingness to find a compromise", Ryabkov stressed. "Sanctioning such entities ex post facto may cause some problems diplomatically, but it will help put a healthy respect for the United Nations resolution in play", he said.
China has opposed secondary sanctions related to the DPRK announced by the US Treasury Department on Tuesday and called on the US government to correct the "mistake".
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