GOP warns Trump team: Softly renouncing China hurts North Korea's efforts

GOP warns Trump team: Softly renouncing China hurts North Korea's efforts

SThe Republicans on Thursday called on Trump officials to step up enforcement of North Korea's sanctions on Chinese companies, warning that this would run counter to US advances in nuclear proliferation.

"We can not allow China and Russia to withdraw and say, 'You know what we're not going to play anymore, and we're going to supply North Korea with these products,' said Ted Yoho, R-Fla, 'said Treasury and State Department Officials during a hearing.

Since its historic summit with dictator Kim Jong Un in June, the government has been struggling to advance the denuclearization process in North Korea. A newly appointed Special Envoy for the negotiations has spent the last few days on the Korean peninsula and in China to speed up the talks. But leading Republicans fear that the government's reluctance to impose tough sanctions on China and Russia has given North Korea room to breathe.

"I am very concerned that our 'maximum pressure' campaign is stalling," said Ed Royce, British Foreign Ministry Chairman, at the beginning of the hearing. "Kim always seems to be in talks to look for weaknesses and gain time, and if our messages are confusing or contradictory, we should not be surprised if others, like Beijing, reportedly continue to import North Korean coal."

[John Bolton: Trump ‘can’t make’ North Korea denuclearize]

China and Russia sell oil to North Korea, although the United States agrees that the sales violate the United Nations Security Council resolution, which sets a cap on the amount of oil that Kim's regime can import each year. These economic ties contribute to some of Congress' assessment that the two countries want to use the North Korean crisis to reduce the US military position in the region.

Yoho wants the Treasury to punish, in particular, the big Chinese banks that have been involved in money laundering and other illegal financial transactions. "Do you look at these banks as too big to fail – too big to sanction them?" He asked on Thursday.

The Treasury Department said that this will not happen, even if the banks are big enough to "eclipse" even the largest US banks. "But that will not scare us," Deputy Secretary Marshall Billingslea said.

But they also target individual bank accounts instead of imposing sanctions on the entire financial institution.

"With a large bank … we are making very specific discussions with the banks, especially through their New York offices, to really address the individual account holders that we believe are North Korean descent to remove these people from their bankrolls." , he said. "And we have made some good progress in this regard."

This is a much narrower approach than some legislators prefer. Representative Brad Sherman, D-Calif., Argued last year that the Trump government should go beyond sanctions on individual Chinese banks and impose sanctions nationwide.

Billingslea stressed that the government is targeting supporters of North Korea, including in Russia and China. "Since the beginning of this government, we have named 60 of these agents acting on behalf of US and UN banking and arms dealers," he said.

Yoho urged him to notify Congress if they needed additional sanctions against China.

"This will go down in history, in five years they will say, 'Well, President Trump did that and it was a failed attempt,' the Republican Republican worried.

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