The American sanctions against Chinese and Russian firms and individuals were not aimed at their governments, the US has said while hoping that Russia and China would implement the UN Security Council-approved sanctions against North Korea.
The Trump administration on Tuesday slapped sanctions on Russian and Chinese entities and individuals for helping North Korea advance its missile and nuclear weapons programme.
The sanctions targeted 10 Russian and Chinese companies and six individuals involved in conducting business with the reclusive nation.
“These (sanctions) are not to target a government but to entities and individuals funding some of North Korea’s (nuclear) programmes,” State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters at her news conference yesterday.
She was responding to questions on sharp reaction by China after the US slapped sanctions on Chinese entities and individuals.
“The companies and the individuals who have been sanctioned – the third-party sanctions – are in China and Russia, but we don’t target any specific governments at all with regard to sanctions.
“We look at those sanctions as not being necessarily a part of the government but companies that are involved in illicit activity, companies or individuals who are involved in illicit activity,” she said.
Russia and China have pledged to adhere to the sanctions against the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or North Korea), Nauert said.
“We trust and look forward to them adhering to that. We take them at their word; they said they would and we don’t have any reason to believe they wouldn’t,” Nauert said.
She said that this can happen anywhere around the world where the US sees people who are involved in those types of things or companies.
“We will keep an eye on them and, if appropriate, Treasury will look into it and then sanction them,” she said, adding that the US policy on North Korea has not changed.
“We want a denuclearised Korean Peninsula. The world wants that. UN Security Council resolutions have backed that up as well. So that has not changed. But the Secretary has looked at this, as one of the countries that cares deeply about this issue, and has said that (North Korean leader) Kim Jong-un needs to take further steps in order to show that he is serious before we are willing to sit down.
It has been three-plus weeks since they have not done any missile launches or missile tests, Nauert added.