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A Message to China? New U.S. Sanctions and AML Measures for North Korea

On June 29, 2017, the U.S. Treasury Department announced new steps applying pressure on North Korea in relation to its proliferation activities.  Specifically, this involved (1) sanctions designations against Chinese shipping company Dalian Global Unity Shipping Co., Ltd. and two Chinese individuals; and (2) anti-money laundering special measures against China’s Bank of Dandong.  All were involved in business with North Korea according to the Treasury Department’s announcement.

The Special Measures for Bank of Dandong under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act prohibit U.S. financial institutions from maintaining correspondent accounts for, or on behalf of, that bank.  This would prevent access to the U.S. banking system for dollar transactions or wiring services.

None of the sanctioned parties appear to be systemically important companies for China, but the sanctions may be intended, or viewed, as an effort by the Trump Administration to pressure China into doing more to restrain North Korea’s nuclear activities.