The U.S. Treasury Department expanded its list of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea sanctions on Tuesday, adding people, companies, and ships. This comes as The Republic of Korea’s foreign minister is in Beijing meeting with her Chinese counterpart on multiple topics, including the DPRK.
CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports.
The U.S. Treasury Department issued sanctions against 34 additional individuals and companies Tuesday afternoon.
The latest round of sanctions falls under three categories:
- Four Chinese companies which allegedly exported raw materials and computers to Pyongyang, and one Chinese individual – Mr. Sidong Sun – who reportedly owns one of the designated companies.
- DPRK entities including nine companies and 20 ships. According to photographs released by the Treasury, these companies allegedly used ship-to-ship transfers to move products in an effort to evade sanctions.
- One DPRK company, named on allegations it exported DPRK workers to generate revenue for Pyongyang.
None of these sanctions are connected to Monday’s White House announcement that Washington is adding Pyongyang back to its “state sponsor of terrorism” list. That decision is raising some concerns in Beijing, where there’s fear that any further pressure on Pyongyang could lead to the resumption of its unlawful missile tests.
China Daily’s English-language paper issued an editorial on Tuesday, saying: “The U.S. designation of the DPRK as a state sponsor of terrorism could lay waste to the efforts of China and Russia to bring the DPRK back to the negotiation table.”
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson also said Beijing hopes all sides will put more effort into returning to negotiations.
At the same time, Air China is reportedly suspending flights between Beijing and the DPRK. The Associated Press quoted a company press officer as saying flights were “temporarily suspended due to unsatisfactory business operations.”
There’s no mention of the change on the airline’s English website.
China continues to back the “Freeze for Freeze” approach to the DPRK nuclear issue despite claims to the contrary from U.S. President Donald Trump.
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is set to meet with Seoul’s top diplomat. According to the Blue House, ROK Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and her Chinese counterpart will discuss ways in which they can work together to reach a peaceful resolution to the DPRK nuclear issue.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson only mentioned that improving bilateral ties is on the agenda.
ROK President Moon Jae-in visits China next month. In late October, the two countries resumed normal relations after Beijing objected to Seoul’s decision to install an American anti-missile defense system known as THAAD.