08:21 GMT21 June 2021
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    The United States is looking at possible sanctions on Chinese banks and efforts to curtail Chinese imports of North Korean coal and iron ore to leverage additional pressure on Pyongyang, US Department of State Coordinator for Sanctions Policy, Daniel Fried said on Wednesday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Monday, the US Department of Justice announced charges against four Chinese nationals and the Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Co. Ltd. (DHID) with money laundering and conspiracy to evade sanctions against North Korea’s nuclear program.

    "We believe we have the authorities we need, and yes, we are looking at all possible pressure points including financial," Fried said when asked during a Senate hearing if the United States intended to sanction Chinese banks caught facilitating North Korean financial transactions.

    The US Treasury also announced sanctions on four top executives of DHID.

    Fried explained the Monday actions "demonstrate that we are willing to take the next step of designating third country entities which are cooperating with designated North Korean banks."

    Additionally, the United States is also pursuing efforts to "curtail" Pyongyang’s ability to export coal and iron ore, two products exported to China that account for a significant portion of North Korea’s export income, Fried pointed out.

    "We are indeed working to address the problem of North Korean coal export generally, and specifically to China," Fried explained.

    Despite China signing agreeing to historically tough sanctions on North Korea under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2270, the United States has been critical of Beijing’s ongoing economic ties with Pyongyang.

    The latest UN sanctions were imposed in response to North Korea’s fourth nuclear weapons test in January. On September 9, North Korea carried out its fifth nuclear weapons test.


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