The United States moves to dissuade foreign banks from working with North Korea by threatening action against international financial transaction with Pyongyang.
The US administration issued a warning Wednesday, with the Treasury Department designating North Korea as a “primary money laundering concern.”
Treasury officials said they are moving to ban non-US banks and entities from processing dollar transactions on behalf of North Korea in a move to block Pyongyang’s international trade, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“Today’s action is a further step toward severing banking relationships with North Korea, and we expect all governments and financial authorities to do likewise,” said Treasury’s top sanctions official, Adam Szubin.
The latest US move comes as North Korea has begun a 200-day battle to boost the country’s sanctions-hit economy as part of a five-year economic plan.
“The 200-day battle is a safeguard for the party policy that will open up a breakthrough for carrying out the five-year strategy for economic growth,” the North’s Rodong Sinmun daily said in an editorial on Wednesday.
The country recently came under the most crippling sanctions by the UN and the West over its nuclear missile tests.
Pyongyang declared itself a nuclear power in 2005 and carried out four nuclear weapons tests – in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2016.
The UN sanctions have imposed trade restrictions on the North, required all UN members to inspect all cargo to and from the country and barred vessels suspected of carrying illegal goods for North Korea from ports.
Exports of coal, iron and iron ore, gold, titanium and rare earth minerals from North Korea are also banned while the supply of aviation fuel including rocket fuel to the country is also prohibited.
The measure tightens banking restrictions on North Korea and governments are to be required to ban flights of any plane suspected of carrying contraband destined for North Korea.