China Committed to North Korea Sanctions, U.S. Says

China is committed to making sure United Nations Security Council sanctions against North Korea have an impact, a U.S. Treasury official said after meeting with Chinese officials in Beijing.

The U.S. believes that China sees the North’s recent actions as a threat to its interests, David Cohen, under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, told reporters today. He was referring to a nuclear test the North conducted in February and Security Council sanctions that were imposed in response.

“We have sensed in our meetings yesterday and expect as well today that the Chinese government is fully committed to implementing this resolution in a way that gives it real effect,” Cohen said. “The Chinese government is looking at what’s been happening in North Korea recently as threatening the stability of the peninsula in a real way that implicates Chinese interests.”

China and the U.S. worked together to craft a resolution that imposing tougher sanctions on North Korea at the UN Security Council this month after the nuclear test. China is the North’s biggest trading partner and diplomatic ally.

An editorial in the state-run Global Times newspaper published in February, after the test and before the sanctions, said China must give the North a “friendly warning”

‘Extremely Stupid’

“We must not join the camp of the U.S., Japan and South Korea, or actively cooperate with the U.S.-led sanctions against North Korea,” the editorial said. “To do that would be extremely stupid strategically.”

The new sanctions target activity by North Korean diplomats, bulk transfers of cash by North Koreans, and banks and companies that may be funneling cash or materials to support the country’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs.

The resolution calls for enhanced scrutiny of transactions between member states, financial institutions and North Korea, Cohen said.

“It’s no secret that there’s a fair amount of financial relationship between China and North Korea and Chinese financial institutions and North Korea,” he said. “We are hopeful that the Chinese banks and Chinese regulators will take heed of the Security Council resolution and we have every confidence frankly that that will occur.”

The sanctions also block transfers of luxury items for the regime’s elite, such as racing cars, yachts and jewelry containing pearls or gems.

The intention is to “affect the behavior of the regime,” Ambassador Dan Fried, the State Department’s sanctions-policy coordinator, told reporters today. Fried said it was “sad” that North Korea’s people are forced to live in poor conditions while Kim Jong Un’s regime spends money on its nuclear-weapons and ballistic-missile programs.

“I could use stronger language than sad,” Fried said. “Abhorrent comes to mind.”

— With assistance by Henry Sanderson

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