US targets DPRK banking industry in new round of unilateral sanctions

World Today

FILE – In this May 8, 2016, file photo, a North Korean solder stands guard near barrels stacked up near the river bank of the North Korean town of Sinuiju, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong. China announced Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 it will limit oil supplies to North Korea under U.N. sanctions starting Oct. 1, 2017, stepping up pressure on Pyongyang over its pursuit of nuclear and missile technology. (Chinatopix via AP, File)

The Trump administration announced new unilateral sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on Tuesday. This time, the U.S. Treasury department is going after the country’s banking industry.

CGTN’S Roee Ruttenberg has more.

Washington’s latest round of sanctions against Pyongyang targets eight DPRK banks and 26 DPRK nationals; Koreans, living or working in China, Russia, Libya, and the United Arab Emirates.

The Trump administration said the sanctions are just its latest move to financially isolate the government of Kim Jong-Un for its continued nuclear program.

At the White House on Tuesday, Donald Trump blamed previous U.S. presidents for not doing enough.

“North Korea is a situation that should have been handled 25 years ago, 20 years ago, 15 years ago, 10 years ago and 5 years ago and it could have been handled much more easily,” he said. “You had various administrations, many administrations, which left me a mess. But I’ll fix the mess.”

Trump said the U.S. was “totally prepared” to take what he called a “devastating military option” against the DPRK, which this week warned it could—and would—shoot down U.S. planes.

Tuesday’s unilateral U.S. sanctions come just two weeks after the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed its own for a second time.

Trump on Tuesday praised Beijing’s efforts, saying, “I applaud China’s latest action to restrict its trade with North Korea. And in particular, I applaud China for breaking off all banking relationships with North Korea.”

But China called for calm and warned that a war on the Korean peninsula would have no winner.

Lu Kang, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said, “We hope the politicians from the U.S. and DPRK have enough political judgment to realize that the use of force is absolutely not an option to solve the Korean peninsula issue and other major concerns of relevant parties themselves.”

China has not confirmed that it has cut off DPRK banks. Still, that didn’t stop Donald Trump on Tuesday from praising President Xi Jinping for having done so.