World Bulletin / News Desk
The U.S. Treasury Department’s action against Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Company and four officials came a little over two weeks after the North’s fifth ever nuclear test -- and just months after the reclusive state was hit with strengthened United Nations sanctions for the preceding test.
While Beijing has publicly committed to enforcing punitive measures against its old ally North Korea, some Chinese entities and officials stand accused of flouting the sanctions.
China is already understood to be investigating executives and employees from Hongxiang’s parent group for breaking trade restrictions as well as helping a barred North Korean bank to continue underground operations in the Chinese city of Dandong.
The U.S. decision to clamp down on one of its affiliates before the conclusion of China’s probe suggests a willingness to send a clear signal to anyone else doing illicit business with North Korea -- namely that they will be blocked from the American financial system.
“By highlighting the danger of having dealings with the North, it is expected to alert individuals and organizations in other third countries and help strengthen the global community's will to faithfully enforce UN Security Council resolutions," a South Korean foreign ministry official was quoted as saying by local news agency Yonhap.
Despite the threat of even tougher sanctions, North Korea shows no sign of backing down from its nuclear ambitions.
“As long as the U.S. exists on the earth, a world without nuclear weapons is no more than a daydream and our planet will be in peace only when it is free from its aggression,” stated the North’s Institute of International Studies in a memo carried by state-run media Tuesday.