Dem senator wants sanctions on Chinese firms that help North Korea

Dem senator wants sanctions on Chinese firms that help North Korea
© Victoria Sarno Jordan
A top Senate Democrat says he is concerned that China has not done enough to crack down on banks facilitating business with North Korea, and he hopes Congress will slap new sanctions on companies that do business with the Hermit Kingdom.
 
In an interview for The Hill’s Power Politics podcast, Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenOvernight Cybersecurity: Bipartisan bill aims to deter election interference | Russian hackers target Senate | House Intel panel subpoenas Bannon | DHS giving 'active defense' cyber tools to private sector Senators unveil bipartisan push to deter future election interference Maryland Dems ask Hogan about response to tax law MORE (D-Md.) said he hopes the Senate takes up new sanctions legislation he authored with Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyTop GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race Newly declassified memos detail extent of improper Obama-era NSA spying Overnight Tech: FCC won't fine Colbert over Trump joke | Trump budget slashes science funding | Net neutrality comment period opens MORE (R-Pa.) that passed the Banking Committee last month. The measure would apply mandatory sanctions on firms that facilitate economic activity with North Korea. 
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“We should all be concerned about what’s happening on the North Korean peninsula. You have a North Korean regime that now has intercontinental ballistic capability. They have nuclear weapons. The question is when they will marry the two up,” Van Hollen said.
 
He predicted broad bipartisan support for the sanctions legislation, both in the House and the Senate. And while Van Hollen was sharply critical of President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems flip Wisconsin state Senate seat Sessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants GOP rep: 'Sheet metal and garbage' everywhere in Haiti MORE, he said he agrees with Trump that China has not done enough to punish North Korea for expanding its nuclear capabilities.
 
“It’s been pretty clear that China, while they’ve taken some steps, has not taken all the steps necessary. This actually may be one area where I agree with the president,” Van Hollen said. “It’s really important to continue efforts at diplomacy, but diplomacy is best when it’s backed up by strong sanctions.”
 
The vast majority of North Korean imports come from China. But, under pressure from the Trump administration, China backed new United Nations Security Council sanctions on North Korea after a ballistic missile test the country conducted in late November.
 
On Friday, China imposed new limits on energy shipments to and trade with North Korea, The Associated Press reported.  
 
In recent weeks, South Korea has intercepted two ships that were delivering oil to the North, in violation of U.N. sanctions.
 
Power Politics, hosted by The Hill’s Alexis Simendinger, airs Saturday mornings.