The White House announced Tuesday that the Trump administration was weighing whether to cutoff Russian and Chinese businesses from US financial services should they do business in North Korea; a move meant to strengthen recently imposed sanctions against the communist country.
An official with the Treasury Department briefed Congress over North Korea’s black-market businesses that continue to skirt UN sanctions and conduct business with both Russian and Chinese companies.
“North Korea has been living under United Nations sanctions for over a decade and it has nevertheless made significant strides toward its goal of building a nuclear tipped ICBM,” said the official.
“I urge anyone in the financial services industry who might be implicated in the establishment of shell or front companies for [North Korea], and anyone who is aware of such entities, to come forward with that information now, before they find themselves swept up in our net,” he warned.
US officials believe North Korea’s clandestine businesses can generate revenue upwards of $1 billion for Kim’s regime; undermining UN sanctions aimed at crippling the North Korean economy as it continues to advance its nuclear and missile programs.
“Unfortunately, I cannot tell the committee today that we’ve seen sufficient evidence of China’s willingness to truly shutdown North Korea’s revenue flows, to expunge North Korean illicit actors from its banking system, or to expel the various North Korean middlemen and brokers who are continuing to establish webs of front companies,” said the Treasury Dept. official.