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U.S. to focus on ensuring China implements sanctions on N. Korea: White House official

All News 04:58 June 07, 2016

WASHINGTON, June 6 (Yonhap) -- The United States will talk to China to make sure that it carries out sanctions on North Korea, including the latest "money laundering concern" designation, before assessing Chinese cooperation, a senior White House official said Monday.

Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes made the remark during a discussion at an annual meeting of the Arms Control Association, in response to a question how long the U.S. will wait before blacklisting Chinese banks for doing business with Pyongyang under the latest sanction.

"I think we're in a period now where we're having a dialogue with China about sanctions implementation. We're currently in the strategic and economic dialogue," Rhodes said, referring to the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue under way in Beijing.

"And (Treasury Secretary) Jack Lew, I'm sure, has been addressing this, among many other topics. So, what we're going to try to do in the near term is work with China so that they're cooperative in enforcing sanctions," he said. "So that remains our preference. And, of course, we'll be able to evaluate going forward the strength of Chinese implementation."

Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department designated the North as a "primary money laundering concern," a powerful sanction designed to cut off the provocative regime from the international banking system for defiantly pursuing nuclear and missile development.

The designation means banks around the world could be blacklisted if found to be doing business with Pyongyang. The measure was largely seen as targeting China as the North is believe to be conducting most transactions through the neighboring nation.

"We have not stopped the advance of North Korea's nuclear program and the continued testing of both nuclear weapons and missile systems by the North Koreans is the most serious proliferation challenge that we face in the world today," Rhodes said.

He noted that the U.N. Security Council has imposed the toughest sanctions on the North, and the measure, if implemented, will make "a significant difference." The adoption of sanctions is a sign that the international community, including China, is taking North Korean provocations seriously, he said.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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