United States blacklists small Chinese bank over North Korea dealings, announces new sanctions

North Korea warns US it will keep building nuclear arsenal

The statement quoted U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as saying that the steps were taken as part of efforts to maximize pressure on North Korea to abandon its weapons programs.

McMaster's remarks came just a couple hours after a senior White House official warned that China is "falling far short" of the level of pressure it could be applying to North Korea and told reporters in a briefing Wednesday that Trump has asked his administration to draw up a list of new sanctions for him to consider.

The U.S.is moving to cut off the Bank of Dandong from the worldwide financial system by preventing U.S. institutions from maintaining accounts for or on its behalf.

Mnuchin said cutting off the flow of money was "very effective" in bringing Iran to the negotiating table and the U.S.is seeking to do the same with North Korea.

"I wish we would have a little more help with respect to North Korea from China, but that doesn't seem to be working out", Trump said last week after tweeting that the Chinese campaign to pressure North Korea - however limited - "has not worked out".

Treasury's move will prevent the bank from having accounts or doing business with U.S. financial institutions.

The Treasury Department said in a statement that the Bank of Dandong "acts as a conduit for illicit North Korean financial activity" and called it a "primary money-laundering concern".

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For months, former US officials and experts warned that President Donald Trump's plan to rely on China to pressure North Korea into giving up its nuclear weapons was futile.

The sanctions bar Americans from doing business with Bank of Dandong, which is based in a northeastern Chinese city on the North Korean border that serves as a gateway for trade with the isolated nation.

The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on two Chinese individuals and one shipping company for links to North Korea's weapons proliferation. This action freezes the entire bank out of the USA financial system.

"If we find other activity, we will sanction other entities".

However he raised eyebrows last week by thanking his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for its help before concluding that his efforts had "not worked out", without spelling out what he meant to do next.

Speaking alongside Moon in Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters that the US and South Korea "shared concerns" about North Korea.

Mnuchin said the USA would continue to look at other penalties that can be imposed on North Korea and that the topic will be on the agenda when Trump meets with other leaders of major economic powers at the Group of 20 summit next week in Germany.

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