More Chinese banks cutting off business with North Korea

Posted on : 2013-05-11 13:51 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Suspensions make it more difficult for North Koreans in China to send money home
 one of the four large Chinese state-owned commercial banks
one of the four large Chinese state-owned commercial banks

By Jeong Nam-ku, Tokyo correspondent

Bank of China and three other state-owned Chinese banks are suspending all transactions with North Korea, Japan's Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported on May 10.

The report quoted bank officials as saying they had received direct orders from a Chinese government agency to block the accounts as part of the sanctions against North Korea for its missile launch and nuclear test.

Another source was quoted as saying the measure was an expression of China's concerns about North Korea, adding that North Korean workers in the country may be having difficulties in sending remittances home.

The four banks in question are the Bank of China, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the China Construction Bank, and the Agricultural Bank of China. Remittances to North Korea were halted some time between February and March after North Korea's nuclear test, the newspaper reported.

An official with the Bank of China told the Asahi Shimbun on May 9 that it had "notified North Korea of the closure of the Foreign Trade Bank’s [FTB] account and suspended handling remittances and disbursements to the account."

The article also said the measures had apparently "affected bilateral trade to a certain extent," quoting a Chinese trading company source in Dandong, on the North Korean border, as saying the business had been unable to transfer money to North Korea.

But the actual effects of the sanctions may be difficult to gauge, since it is unclear just how much the closed FTB accounts handled, the newspaper added.

A diplomatic source in Beijing was quoted as saying that much of the trade between North Korea and China was settled in cash or barter.

The article also reported a Chinese trading company official as saying couriers in North Korea could still bring money in for transactions.

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