Chinese Firm Charged With Plotting to Evade N. Korea Sanctions

Chinese Firm Charged With Plotting to Evade N. Korea Sanctions

The Treasury Department and Justice Department took a series of actions Monday against four Chinese individuals and one Chinese company for conspiring to aid North Korea's nuclear weapons program in violation of US economic sanctions.

Also Monday, the Treasury Department blacklisted the same firm, Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Company, and the individuals.

The South Korean military has apparently lost a helicopter during a surprise exercise with United States warships in the East China Sea staged as the latest show of military might and readiness to counter "North Korea's unprovoked acts of aggression".

The Treasury is also placing under sanctions three other employees at the company: Zhou Jianshu, Hong Jinhua, and Luo Chuanxu.

Specifically, Ma and Dandong Hongxiang worked with North Korea's Kwangson Banking Corp., which the US has sanctioned because of its alleged connection with the the nuclear-weapons program.

Dandong's provincial public security department said it had placed Dandong Hongxiang and its bosses under investigation for "serious economic crimes involved in trade activities".

There have been rising calls to have stricter and comprehensive sanctions in place against Kim Jong-un's administration in the wake of its latest nuclear test, flouting United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSC).

The EU said in April that the North's firm is "generating substantial foreign exchange revenue which could contribute to the DPRK's nuclear-related, ballistic-missile-related or other weapons-of-mass-destruction-related programs".

A North Korean restaurant in Bangkok that suspended operations in March may be reopening in another location despite global sanctions.

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Worldwide concern about Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs is deepening following its fifth and largest atomic test this month, its second this year. It has tightened controls on cross-border flows of goods, but that hasn't allayed suspicions that North Korea still can conduct illicit business through China.

Last week, the U.S. said that President Barack Obama and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang agreed to step up cooperation in the UN Security Council and in law-enforcement channels after North Korea's latest and largest nuclear test on 9 September.

Any property of the four Chinese individuals and the company in the possession or control of USA nationals, or within the United States, are to be blocked through this measure, and Americans are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving these designated individuals.

"We have been earnestly and faithfully implementing Security Council resolutions related to (North Korea) in their entirety and fulfilling our worldwide obligations in non-proliferation export controls", she said.

The Justice Department on Monday also filed a civil complaint in federal court in New Jersey seeking forfeiture of all funds held in 25 Chinese bank accounts associated with DHID.

China's Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

At $45.55 per ton of coal, North Korea is a far more attractive trading partner than China's second largest coal supplier, Russia, who's coal costs $70.25 per ton.

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