U.S. Sanctions Target Chinese Firms Over North Korea

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Washington imposed new sanctions on a dozen Russian and Chinese companies accused of helping North Korea’s nuclear program.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the sanctions will continue to build pressure on North Korea.

“[The] Treasury will continue to increase pressure on North Korea by targeting those who support the advancement of nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, and isolating them from the American financial system,” he said.

The sanctions will prevent U.S. business and individuals from doing business with these companies.

China reacted by calling the U.S. to ‘correct its mistake’ of sanctioning Chinese business. However, Beijing voted in favor of the UN Security Council resolution imposing new sanctions against Pyongyang.

Despite this, China views joint U.S. and South Korean operations with uneasiness. Beijing criticized the U.S. for installing THAAD anti-missile systems in North Korea, viewing it as a threat for its security.

The regime in Pyongyang, on the other hand, vowed it would continue to pursue its nuclear and missile program. North Korea threatened to launch mid-range ballistic missiles at U.S. Pacific island of Guam, after Donald Trump’s ‘fire and fury’ remark earlier this month.

North Korea said that its nuclear program was aimed to strengthen nuclear deterrence and accused the U.S. of  “constant nuclear threats”.

“The measures taken by [North Korea] to strengthen its nuclear deterrence and develop inter-continental rockets is justifiable and a legitimate option for self-defence in the face of such apparent and real threats”, said a senior North Korean diplomat.

At the same time, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson mentioned the possibility of a dialogue with North Korea.

“We hope that this is the beginning of this signal that we’ve been looking for – that they are ready to restrain their level of tensions, they’re ready to restrain their provocative acts, and that perhaps we are seeing our pathway to sometime in the near future having some dialogue,” Tillerson said on Tuesday.

Source: BBC News