Published: Fri, September 29, 2017
Markets | By Erika Turner

USA slaps sanctions on 8 North Korean banks

USA slaps sanctions on 8 North Korean banks

The announcement comes days after China confirmed that it will apply another major part of the sanctions: a limit on exports of refined petroleum products to North Korea starting October 1 and a ban on textiles from its neighbour.

China accounts for about 90 percent of North Korea's foreign trade and is under constant pressure from the USA and others to tighten the screws on its neighbor and former close Communist ally.

Also Thursday, China's foreign ministry appealed for dialogue to defuse the increasingly acrimonious dispute between U.S. President Donald Trump's government and North Korea.

The growing tensions between North Korea and the U.S. are not likely to turn into war, even though the current outlook does provide worrying room for miscalculations.

China, which provides the bulk of North Korea's energy supplies, announced Saturday it would cut off gas and limit shipments of refined petroleum products, effective January 1.

But with the North now possessing an enhanced nuclear capability, the possibility of awful destruction in South Korea, Japan and perhaps even the US West Coast has increased dramatically. Ri was reacting to Trump's Twitter comments that Kim and Ri "won't be around much longer" if they acted on their threats towards the United States.

USA secretary of state Rex Tillerson will visit China from Thursday to Saturday for talks with senior officials that will include the crisis over North Korea and trade, the State Department said on Tuesday.

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The Trump administration is using new sanctions authority to punish eight North Korean banks and 26 bank workers living overseas.

North Korean businesses and ventures with Chinese partners must close within 120 days of the U.N. Security Council's September 11 approval of the latest sanctions, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

China hopes Washington and Pyongyang realise that "blindly flaunting one's superiority with words to show off and mutual provocation will only increase the risk of confrontation and reduce the room for policy manoeuvres", said foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang.

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said war on the Korean Peninsula would have no victor.

During a visit to India, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said diplomatic efforts to deal with the crisis were continuing.

The United States and South Korea are technically still at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce and not a peace treaty.

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