Washington DC: The U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions (Reuters) on the Chinese Bank of Dandong, accused of laundering money for North Korea, as well as on a Chinese shipping company and two Chinese citizens, blacklisting them (Bloomberg) from conducting business with U.S.-tied firms and people. The move comes as U.S. President Donald J. Trump hosts South Korean President Moon Jae-in (Korea Herald) on Friday; the two leaders are expected to discuss tensions with North Korea and trade relations. The sanctions on Chinese entities (CNN), intended to increase pressure on China to limit North Korea’s access to funding for its nuclear and missile program, could cool ties between Washington and Beijing.
“Despite Moon’s stated desire during the campaign to cultivate dialogue and renew economic relations with Pyongyang, North Korean missile tests—conducted only four days after Moon’s election—served as a wake-up call,” writes CFR’s Scott A. Snyder.
“The move represents a second phase of the Trump administration’s strategy to ratchet up pressure on North Korea and could escalate diplomatic tensions between the world’s two largest economies, said Victor Cha, a former director for Asian affairs in the Bush administration’s National Security Council,” writes Ian Talley in the Wall Street Journal. (Council on Foreign Relations)