U.S. Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker met the press at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo on Jan. 26. On the transfer of embargoed goods between North Korean vessels and third-nation ships on the high seas, she made clear that “we are calling on China to implement stronger measures than what they have in place now.” She noted that if measures are not sufficient, “the U.S. will not hesitate to act unilaterally” and indicated that the U.S. is ready to step up pressure on China.
From Jan. 22 Mandelker visited China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan in each of which she had consultations on the strengthening of sanctions against North Korea. On Jan. 24, the U.S. government invoked sanctions against Chinese firms and others that were trading with North Korea. The senior U.S. official said that she explained to China about the matter in advance during her discussions with Chinese authorities. She noted that while the U.S. is “working closely with China to fight smuggling,” it is “demanding China seize companies that continue to trade and conduct financial transactions with North Korea.”