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US Targets Chinese Bank, Company and 2 Citizens Over North Korea Ties


The United States slapped unprecedented sanctions Thursday on a Chinese bank accused of laundering North Korean cash after Donald Trump said Beijing's efforts to put the brakes on Pyongyang's nuclear drive had failed.

In a statement, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pledged US commitment to maximiSe pressure on North Korea until it abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile program, CNN reports.

In a statement, the Treasury Department accused the China-based Bank of Dandong of "facilitating millions of dollars of transactions for companies involved in North Korea's [weapons of mass destruction] and ballistic missile programs".

President Trump has always been pushing China to do more to rein in the North Korean regime and its leader Kim Jong-un.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced a new set of actions Thursday aimed at increasing pressure on North Korea, including cutting off a Chinese bank that is accused of laundering money and providing financing to North Korea in violation of worldwide sanctions.

In addition, Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset Control sanctioned two individuals and one global shipping company that transports goods between China and North Korea.

"While todays actions are directed at Chinese individuals and entities, we look forward to continuing to work closely with the Government of China to stop illicit financing involving North Korea".

But he warned that Treasury will "follow the money" and take action where needed to cut off illegal finance. "We are committed to targeting north Korea's external enablers and maximizing pressure on the North Korean regime".

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The U.S. military recently updated those options, which are now ready to be presented to Trump in the event North Korea conducts an underground nuclear test or ballistic missile test that would signal a threat to the U.S., two military officials told CNN on Wednesday.

Moon was due to dine with Trump on Thursday night and met earlier with Congressional leaders as he pushes his policy of engagement with the North.

"What we have to do is prepare all options because the President has made clear to us that he will not accept a nuclear power in North Korea and a threat that can target the United States and target the American population", McMaster said.

Speaking alongside Moon in Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters that the US and South Korea "shared concerns" about North Korea.

"I wish we would have a little more help with respect to North Korea from China, but that doesn't seem to be working out", Trump said last week after tweeting that Chinese efforts to pressure North Korea "has not worked out".

Mnuchin said the decison will require United States banks to ensure that the Bank of Dandong does not access the USA financial system directly or indirectly through other foreign banks.

The move is being seen as part of the Trump administrations effort to prevent North Korea from obtaining nuclear weapons and missiles.

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