United States considers sanctions on Chinese companies over North Korea

Kim Jong-Un's desperation could be gauged from the fact it tested 17 missiles in 2017

Kim Jong-Un's desperation could be gauged from the fact it tested 17 missiles in 2017

The fresh and potential sanctions could target "low-hanging fruit", or smaller institutions rather than any of China's bigger banks, but the breadth of and when the sanctions are put in place will be contingent on talks between the US and China Wednesday, administration sources told Reuters.

The new measures would target Chinese small-and-medium sized financial institutions and shell companies suspected of "funneling cash" into Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

Washington has said talks of easing sanctions would take place only if North Korea agrees to cease weapons proliferation.

But Beijing is also eager to avoid riling Trump.

President Trump has repeatedly criticized China over its trade with North Korea, calling on it to exert more pressure on Kim Jong-un's regime.

New Defense Minister Song Young-moo vowed to drastically "reform" South Korea's military in the face of growing provocations from the North, saying Friday during an inaugural speech in Seoul that achieving "self-reliant defense capabilities" was the goal. "So much for China working with us - but we had to give it a try!"

The new data reflects China's attempt to pull off a delicate balancing act between the USA and North Korea, where it wants to prevent the regime collapsing because it worries about what that would mean for regional stability.

Sanctions are the only action so far that are specifically meant to pressure China on North Korea; arms sales and fleet movements have happened before and would have again sooner or later.

Late last month, the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against two Chinese citizens and a shipping company, with the two individuals each conducting business with the North Korean government, according to Foreign Policy.

"I'm introducing a legislation that will create a global embargo against North Korea to shut off access to the U.S. financial systems and the systems and sources of trade that wish to continue to do business with North Korea", Gardner said in a statement.

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