U.S. blacklists Chinese bank, revving up pressure over North Korea

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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin testifies before the House Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee hearing on the Treasury Department's budget on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin testifies before the House Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee hearing on the Treasury Department’s budget on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has blacklisted a small Chinese bank accused of illicit dealings with North Korea, escalating pressure to get Beijing to rein in its wayward ally.

The Treasury Department says that the Bank of Dandong is a “primary money-laundering concern.” It is proposing severing the bank from the U.S. financial system, pending a 60-day review period.

The announcement reflects growing U.S. frustration over China’s efforts to enforce international sanctions intended to starve North Korea of revenue for its nuclear and missile programs.

Dandong is a northeastern Chinese city on the North Korean border and a gateway for trade with the isolated nation.

The U.S. also slapped sanctions Thursday on a Chinese shipping company and two Chinese people that it says have facilitated illegal activities by North Korea.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the U.S. still wants to work with China — even as the U.S. is penalizing a Chinese bank that’s accused of illicit dealings with North Korea.

“We are in no way targeting China with these actions,” he said.

He says the U.S. is committed to cutting off all illegal funds to North Korea, which conducts 90 percent of its foreign trade through China.

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