A financial squeeze on North Korea's weapons program and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin adding Chinese names to an American blacklist aim to choking sources of funding for Pyongyang. The biggest targets so far, Bank of Dandong, a commercial bank that as of Thursday is effectively banned from doing business with Western firms.
Reuters Greater China Bureau Chief Tony Monroe explains their alleged link with the North.>> The US is basically accusing Bank of Dandong of money laundering and serving as a conduit for millions of dollars of funds related to North Korea's illegal ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs. Bank of Dandong has been mentioned in the pass by the US among other banks as having business with North Korea related entities.
And the action by the US Treasury Department would certainly send a message to other Chinese banks about doing business that could be related to North Korea.>> US experts say Chinese companies have helped fund Pyongyang for years. Mnuchin denies these new sanctions were aimed at China, but it's certainly going to catch Beijing's attention.
>> This does take US pressure on China with regard to North Korea to a new level. It's the first time that the US has singled out a Chinese bank for alledged activity related to North Korea. This comes only about a week after President Trump tweeted that China had made a good effort but it had fallen short in terms of taking measures to reign in North Korea and its weapons programs.
China generally opposes unilateral sanctions, so this is the kind of action that it does not react well to.>> Analysts say the new sanctions may force China's financial sector to pressure the North in ways Beijing hasn't. Forcing banks and investors to question any possible ties of Pyongyang in case they get tied up in sanctions.
The US has hinted it's got more ideas to hamstring the North in the works and will pitch them next week at the G20.