The United States Treasury Department has taken action against two Chinese citizens and two Chinese entities for helping to finance North Korea’s illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, has imposed sanctions against Chinese citizens Sun Wei and Li Hong Ri for their work with previously designated banks and individuals using front companies who have facilitated financial transactions on behalf of North Korea. OFAC also sanctioned the Dalian Global Unity Shipping company for its involvement in transporting illicit goods to North Korea in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions.
In addition, Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network identified China’s Bank of Dandong to be a foreign financial institution of primary laundering concern under Section 311 of the U.S.A. Patriot Act.
At a press briefing, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the Bank of Dandong “served as a gateway for North Korea to access the U.S. and international financial systems, facilitating millions of dollars of transactions for companies involved in North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The United States will not stand for such action,” he added. “This will require U.S. banks to ensure that the Bank of Dandong does not access the U.S. financial system directly or indirectly through other foreign banks.”
Secretary Mnuchin made clear the United States “in no way” is targeting China. Mr. Mnuchin pointed out that President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping “have had very productive conversations about North Korea.” The United States appreciates China’s efforts and hopes that China will continue to work with us. Nevertheless, “we are taking actions to show the seriousness with which we are going to deal with [North Korea’s threat.]”
“We will follow the money and cut off the money,” said Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. “North Korea’s provocative, destabilizing and inhumane behavior will not be tolerated. We are committed to targeting North Korea’s external enablers in maximizing economic pressure on the regime until it ceases its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”