China says it will investigate firms sanctioned by US for helping North Korea

China says it will investigate firms sanctioned by US for helping North Korea
© Getty Images

Beijing on Friday said it will investigate charges against two Chinese firms the U.S. Treasury sanctioned Thursday over their suspected role in helping North Korea dodge international trade sanctions.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a press briefing that China honors all United Nations Security Council sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs, according to The Associated Press.

He added that Beijing will look at any verified offenders and “launch an investigation according to our domestic laws.”

ADVERTISEMENT

However, Geng pronounced Beijing’s opposition to unilateral sanctions on Chinese firms the U.S. has imposed independently of the U.N.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control penalized Dalian Haibo International Freight Co. Ltd. and Liaoning Danxing International Forwarding Co. Ltd. for violating international and U.S. prohibitions on trade with North Korea.

The two firms are now unable to access the U.S. financial system and are barred from retrieving any U.S.-based assets. Individuals and firms that do business with the companies could also face U.S. punishments. 

The U.S. and U.N. both prohibit the shipping or sale of technology, luxury goods, fuel and military equipment to North Korea due to the hermit nation's nuclear and missile programs.

“The United States and our like-minded partners remain committed to achieving the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea and believe that the full implementation of North Korea-related UN Security Council resolutions is crucial to a successful outcome,” Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOvernight Defense: Iran tensions swirl as officials prepare to brief Congress | Trump threatens war would be 'end of Iran' | Graham tells Trump to 'stand firm' | Budget talks begin This week: Democrats, White House set for infrastructure, budget talks White House encouraging investment in Middle East as part of peace plan MORE said in a statement Thursday. 

“Treasury will continue to enforce our sanctions, and we are making it explicitly clear that shipping companies employing deceptive tactics to mask illicit trade with North Korea expose themselves to great risk.”

The levies were the first sanctions against Pyongyang since a second nuclear summit between President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhat the Mueller report tells us about Putin, Russia and Trump's election Fox's Brit Hume fires back at Trump's criticism of the channel Anti-US trade war song going viral in China MORE and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un broke down last month in Vietnam.