China banks freeze North Korean accounts: Report
Chinese banks including a branch of China’s biggest bank Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) have frozen accounts belonging to North Koreans, a South Korean newspaper reported on Monday.
Citing phone conversations with an unnamed employee of ICBC’s office in the northeastern Chinese border city of Dandong, the Dong-A Ilbo reported that since late December it had suspended all deposits and transfers of foreign currencies in and out of accounts with North Korean names.
“(The bank) had never told me why it was taking such measures, but it seems that they are related with the strained relations between North Korea and China,” the ICBC employee told the Dong-A Ilbo.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, when asked at a daily news briefing in Beijing, said she did “not understand” the matter.
Washington and Seoul are seeking support from Beijing, Pyongyang’s main ally, for tougher sanctions against North Korea for its Feb. 7 rocket launch and January nuclear test. Read more