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NUKEWARS
China raps US sanctioning of bank over North Korea ties
By Becky Davis, with Dave Clark in Washington
Beijing (AFP) Nov 3, 2017


Trump warns China Japan could take action on N. Korea
Washington (AFP) Nov 3, 2017 - US President Donald Trump on Thursday warned China that "warrior nation" Japan could take matters into its own hands if the threat posed by North Korea is not addressed.

Trump's remarks come ahead of his first visit to Asia since taking office, with soaring tensions over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs expected to take center stage.

"Japan is a warrior nation, and I tell China and I tell everyone else that listens, I mean, you're gonna have yourself a big problem with Japan pretty soon if you allow this to continue with North Korea," Trump said on Fox News.

However, Trump also said that President Xi Jinping has been "pretty terrific" on North Korea, and that "China is helping us."

After a chiding from Trump for failing to rein in Kim, China has implemented tougher UN sanctions against North Korea, and Xi's relationship with the US leader appears to be warming.

North Korea in July launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles apparently capable of reaching the US mainland -- described by its leader Kim Jong-Un as a gift to "American bastards".

The North followed that up with two missiles that passed over Japan, and its sixth nuclear test, by far its most powerful yet.

The US president raised the specter of Japan taking action over North Korea as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe continues efforts to change its US-imposed pacifist constitution, seen by conservatives as an outdated legacy of wartime defeat, so Japan can formally transform its well-equipped and well-trained Self Defense Forces into a full-fledged military.

Trump has warned of "fire and fury" in response to Pyongyang's threats, and derisively dubbed Kim "Rocket Man", who responded by calling him a "dotard".

Beijing on Friday hit back at a US decision to exclude a Chinese bank from the American financial system over its alleged ties to North Korea, slamming the move as "long-armed jurisdiction".

Washington had alerted other businesses in June that it planned to take the action, but it finally went into effect on Thursday, just as President Donald Trump was to set off on an Asian tour.

China "strongly opposes the long-armed jurisdiction imposed by any country," Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing.

China has been "comprehensively, actively, meticulously and strictly" implementing UN sanctions, she added.

Trump has demanded that Beijing do more to push its neighbour North Korea to stop efforts to build a nuclear-armed missile capable of reaching American cities.

He will bring this message to President Xi Jinping in Beijing next week, but China is reluctant to push too hard and risk destabilising Kim Jong-Un's North Korean regime.

Officials in Washington warn that, while they would prefer Kim to come to the table, Trump has not ruled out a pre-emptive strike to prevent him from crossing the missile threshold.

But, alongside this sabre-rattling, Washington is also slowly stepping up secondary sanctions on foreign institutions like the Bank of Dandong which it accuses of funnelling illicit funds.

This risks angering China, but hawkish commentators argue that it remains the only way short of war to force Pyongyang, and perhaps more importantly Beijing, to reconsider its strategy.

"Banks and businesses worldwide should take note that they must be vigilant against attempts by North Korea to conduct illicit financing and trade," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

Along with the ban on Bank of Dandong, the Treasury also issued new guidance to international banks' risk and compliance officers to help them spot North Korean attempts to infiltrate world finance.

Banks from China and around the world find it hard to operate if they are barred from the US financial system, which is a clearing house for most dollar-denominated transactions.

In addition to the financial measures, Washington may also decide to re-designate North Korea as a "state sponsor of terrorism" -- a formal blacklist that would add to sanctions pressure.

- Warmbier death -

Yet the Trump administration does not seem to be in a hurry, despite the president's anger over the death of US student Otto Warmbier after he was imprisoned during a visit to the North.

Warmbier died in June this year, just days after he was released from custody and sent home in a mysterious coma.

His parents said their son showed signs of torture, including teeth that appeared to have been "rearranged," and hands and feet that were disfigured. Trump then accused the North Korean regime of torturing the 22-year-old.

But the US coroner Lakshmi Sammarco, who examined Warmbier's body after his death, said there was no clear evidence of physical torture -- including no recently broken bones or damaged teeth.

On August 2, Trump reluctantly enacted a law that was forced on him by the US Congress pressing for new economic and political sanctions against Iran, Russia and North Korea.

One clause of that act required the US State Department to state within 90 days whether North Korea should be named a terror sponsor -- a deadline lawmakers say expired on Tuesday.

The State Department said it had calculated the deadline differently and was working toward a Thursday announcement, but as office hours came to an end there was no news.

Congressman Ted Poe, chairman of the House subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, was unimpressed and followed up with the State Department to ask about the delay.

"To me, the very law is clear. The designation should have occurred by October 31," he said.

Earlier, at the White House, National Security Adviser HR McMaster had said the designation was still an option that is "under consideration" and that news would come "soon."

He cited the murder of the North Korean leader's half-brother Kim Jong-Nam, who was attacked in February with VX nerve agent at a Malaysian airport, as one reason the regime might be deemed terrorist.

NUKEWARS
South Korea, China seek to warm frosty ties
Seoul (AFP) Oct 31, 2017
South Korea and China tried Tuesday to improve a relationship strained by a US missile defence system, issuing strikingly similar statements, and with Seoul saying their leaders would hold talks on the sidelines of next week's APEC summit. The nations have been at loggerheads over the deployment in South Korea of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, which Seoul and Wash ... read more

Related Links
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
Learn about missile defense at SpaceWar.com
All about missiles at SpaceWar.com
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com


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