U.S. and China United against North Korea
After the UN Security Council passed new sanctions two weeks ago, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said North Korean firms and joint ventures in China would be closed within 120 days.
Following North Korea’s sixth and largest nuclear test this month, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to expand sanctions on Pyongyang. It has halted the country’s textile exports and capped fuel supplies.
It is the ninth UN Security Council sanctions resolution over North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs since 2006.
Last week, China’s central bank told the country’s lenders to strictly implement UN sanctions against North Korea.
They were ordered to stop providing financial services to new North Korean customers and to wind down loans with existing customers. Chinese banks have been accused of transferring funds to and from Pyongyang.
Sources told Reuters the banks were warned of the economic losses and risks to their reputation if they did not comply.
On Tuesday, the US announced sanctions against eight North Korean banks and 26 individuals. The new punitive measures followed President Trump’s executive order targeting North Korea’s access to the international banking system.
Washington repeatedly raised concerns that Beijing has not been tough enough over Pyongyang’s nuclear tests, warning that any threat from North Korea would trigger an “overwhelming” response.
China’s President Xi Jinping assured President Trump that Beijing remains committed to denuclearizing North Korea and remains firm in its wish to resolve the issue through talks leading to a peaceful settlement.
Recently tension has been escalating between the US and North Korea. Washington and Pyongyang have exchanged a series of threats, vowing to destroy one another.
Last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un threatened to launch a nuclear strike against Washington after President Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if it attacks the US or its allies.
Pyongyang said the US has declared war, and “will have every right to take countermeasures, including the right to shoot down US strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace of our country.”
The threat came after Trump tweeted that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “won’t be around much longer.” The White House later denied the US had declared war on North Korea.