China says new United States sanctions won't help cooperation on North Korea

State Rex Tillerson

State Rex Tillerson

Beijing on Wednesday objected to new US sanctions imposed by the Trump administration against Chinese and Russian companies for allegedly helping North Korea with its nuclear program.

"China opposes unilateral sanctions out of the UN Security Council framework, especially the "long-arm jurisdiction" over Chinese entities and individuals exercised by any country in accordance with its domestic laws", said Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Hua Chunying at a press briefing.

"We have always and will always support resolving our existing differences through dialogue", Ryabkov said, adding, "In recent years, Washington in theory should have learned that for us the language of sanctions is unacceptable, and the solutions to real problems are only hindered by such actions".

Meanwhile, China has urged the United States to "immediately correct its mistake" of sanctioning Chinese firms over North Korea.

The latest steps stopped short of targeting Chinese financial institutions dealing with North Korea, a step that would have greatly angered Beijing.

The Treasury Department will "continue to increase pressure on North Korea by targeting those who support the advancement of nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and isolating them from the American financial system", Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said in a statement.

Dandong Zhicheng Metallic Material Co. and four "related front companies" have been targeted since May, when a federal judge issued a ruling allowing prosecutors to secretly monitor their transactions and seize any illegal funds at eight US banks, NBC News reports.

"We also noted that many country leaders also said the Korean peninsula issue should be peacefully resolved and the call for dialogue, peace and deescalation, rather than confrontation, war and mutual provocation, represents the common voice of the worldwide community".

The move follows toughened United Nations sanctions agreed this month after North Korea tested its first two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July.

Three of the Chinese companies on the sanctions list - Jinhou International Holding Co, Dandong Zhicheng Metallic Materials and Dandong Tianfu Trade Co - were accused by the US Treasury of importing almost US$500 million worth of North Korean coal.

People who answered the phone at Dandong Zhicheng and Dandong Tianfu Trade told AFP they were "unaware" of the situation and declined to comment.

Three Chinese firms, two Singapore-based companies, three Russian individuals and a Chinese business executive were also named for their participation in activities that back North Korea's coal and oil trade.

"It's a message to firms throughout the world that the U.S.is going to target these entities and you can not hide behind the cover of being in China or Russia", Boydston told NPR in an interview.

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