Friday, June 30, 2017

China is North Korea's protector and enabler

China condemns US sanctions over 'North Korea funding'

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un watches the test of a new-type anti-aircraft guided weapon system organised by the Academy of National Defence Science in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News AgencyImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThe 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". 
Tweet by Donald Trump on 20 June saying: While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!Image copyrightTWITTER/DONALD TRUMP
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. 
The sanctions were announced as new South Korean President Moon Jae-in held talks with President Trump in Washington.
At a joint news briefing with Mr Moon, President Trump said that "many options" were being discussed on the North Korea issue, without giving any further details.
Trump and Xi at dinnerImage copyrightAFP
Image captionMr Trump and Mr Xi were all smiles at Mar-a Lago in April
In a separate development, 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. In a statement, the Chinese embassy in Washington called on the US to revoke its decision, saying China had "every right to be outraged". 
The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said on Friday that the US actions went "against the important spirit" of the apparently friendly meeting between Mr Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the US president's Florida resort in April. 
Earlier in the week, the US also placed China on its list of the worst offenders in human trafficking and forced labour - the first major move by the new administration over Beijing's human rights record. 

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