Chinese State Banks Freeze N.Korean Accounts

  • By Kim Soo-hye

    September 11, 2017 09:28

    China's large state banks have stopped opening new accounts for North Koreans and frozen remittances to North Korea.

    This blocks cash flow to the regime to a significant extent, while the volume of oil shipments from China to North Korea has also dwindled, Kyodo News reported Saturday. Affected are not only North Korean diplomats and officials in China but also laborers and traders with North Korean passports.

    "Previously, the banks were happy to open accounts for North Koreans living in China for personal reasons (mostly visiting relatives), provided they present their personal identity documents," the website Daily NK reported. "This practice has ended as well."

    Customers leave a branch of Bank of Dandong in the Chinese city on Sept. 2. /Yonhap

    The Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Agricultural Bank of China have gradually stopped services for North Koreans in the border regions since last year, but the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China appears to be continuing them.

    Chinese bank officials told Kyodo that this is a result of international sanctions against the North.

    The Chinese government has also reportedly ordered commercial banks to stop services for North Koreans. It appears that the banks stopped dealing with the North voluntarily to avoid U.S. sanctions amid warnings of a secondary boycott from Washington.

    With oil imports dwindling as a result, gasoline prices have reportedly soared in the North.

    There is speculation that Beijing is taking tougher measure because of the regime's nuclear test on Sept. 3.

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