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U.S. may sanction oil trade with Pyongyang

By Seima Oki and Shuhei Kuromi / Yomiuri Shimbun CorrespondentsWASHINGTON — The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is considering unilateral sanctions against Chinese trading companies engaged in crude oil trade with North Korea, according to sources close to the U.S. government.

The sanctions would be part of U.S. efforts to urge China to pressure the North, which continues its nuclear and missile development.

Regarding new U.N. Security Council sanctions against North Korea that were unanimously adopted Monday, Trump said at the White House on Tuesday: “We think it’s just another very small step. But those sanctions are nothing compared to what will ultimately have to happen.”

The United States sought to ban all oil exports to North Korea, but the new U.N. sanctions did not include such a measure. The Trump administration therefore plans to act on its own to restrict the flow of crude oil to North Korea from China, the North’s main source of oil.

China state banks in crosshairs

On Aug. 22, the U.S. government unilaterally sanctioned Russian firms engaged in crude oil trade with North Korea, freezing their assets among other measures. Sources have said Chinese companies shipping oil to the North will also probably be targeted by future U.S. sanctions.

The Trump administration is likely to consider unilateral sanctions on major Chinese state-owned banks. U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Marshall Billingsley said Tuesday at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing that the U.S. government imposed financial sanctions on the Bank of Dandong in Dandong, Liaoning Province, China, at the end of June.

Billingsley indicated that the U.S. government would sanction other Chinese financial institutions. He said the measures signaled U.S. intentions to eliminate from the international financial system financial institutions that insufficiently combat North Korean money laundering.Speech

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