US accuses Chinese company of money-laundering for North Korea

The United States has accused a Chinese-based company of acting as a front for laundering money on behalf of a sanctioned North Korean bank and has filed a complaint seeking $1.9 million from it, U.S. prosecutors said on Thursday.

The U.S. prosecutors said their move to take $1.9 million from the Chinese company, Mingzheng International Trading, is "one of the largest seizures of North Korean funds by the Department of Justice". The bank is barred from the US financial system under sanctions imposed in response to the North's nuclear weapons development. "The piece ends with a killer quote: "'There is a perception that the Chinese played to his vanity and fleeced him,' said Christopher R. Hill, a special envoy on North Korea during the George W. Bush administration".

North Korea on Friday lashed out at global sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs, saying they are being used to block everything from frozen chicken to swimming flippers.

Following a recent series of high-profile North Korean missile tests, the US earlier this month led an effort at the pass a resolution adding more North Korean individuals and entities linked to its nuclear and missile programs to a sanctions blacklist. China strongly criticized the move, accusing the US of forcing its laws on other countries.

The U.S. sanctioned the bank in 2013 as part of efforts to cut off funding for firms that were allegedly supporting North Korea's production of nuclear weapons.

Beijing is the North's main source of aid and diplomatic support but has shown growing frustration with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue, a framework launched by President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping during a summit in Florida in April. According to the ministry, a total of 15 national party and government agencies, 73 companies and 90 individuals were included on the sanctions lists.

Mattis and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will host Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and General Fang Fenghui, Chief of the People's Liberation Army's Joint Staff Department, along with other officials from both sides, the announcement said.

  • Zachary Reyes