Unilateral sanctions issued by the US following a slew of resolutions from the UN Security Council have inflicted serious damage on the local economy of Dandong in Northeast China’s Liaoning Province, putting many local residents out of work and forcing businesses to close, local residents and experts said on Monday.
Residents in the border city slammed what they described as the latest “US bullying measures” against a local bank based on “groundless” claims that the bank has been assisting North Korea’s nuclear program. They also said local banks and businesses have already stopped doing business with North Korea, following China’s implementation of the resolutions passed by the UN Security Council.
The US Department of the Treasury announced on Friday a ruling that prohibited US financial institutions from doing business with Bank of Dandong, saying the bank was serving as a gateway for North Korea to access the US and international financial systems despite US and UN sanctions.
Bank of Dandong could not be reached for comment on Monday, but local people familiar with the matter painted a dire picture of the bank’s business following the US move.
“Obviously, the [US] decision will have a huge impact on the bank because it has limited the bank’s business geographically. The bank now needs to close down all the overseas accounts,” Lü Chao, a research fellow at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday.
Lü said that though Bank of Dandong is a local bank, it has “many overseas businesses, and the baseless US sanctions will definitely hurt the bank’s business.”
The US sanctions against Bank of Dandong come in the wake of huge economic damage locally resulting from the previous UN resolutions against North Korea, angering many residents in the city.
“The US hasn’t even figured out its own domestic problems but still wants to tell others what to do,” Ma Zhongpeng, a resident of Dandong, said in an angry voice.
“I think it [the US] has got too much free time and just sits around doing nothing but sanctioning North Korea.”
Ma said he has stopped his business of importing seafood from North Korea since September 2017 after such imports were banned by the Chinese government and he is still trying to figure out what to do next.
“I don’t even know what to do… We are a border town and a lot of the businesses are related to North Korea. Now they have all stopped and there is just nothing to do,” Ma told the Global Times on Monday, adding that companies in the coal, clothing and seafood sectors that dealt with North Korea have all closed.
Lü said investigations by the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences showed that the UN Security Council resolutions have had a big economic impact on Dandong and other border towns in the province.
‘Baseless’ US claim
“Local businesses and the overall economy have already paid a big price as a result of the UN sanctions on North Korea and I think a lot of the companies accepted that this is part of the country’s implementation of the UN resolutions. But unilateral, baseless actions from the US really anger many people,” Lü remarked.
“There is nothing we can do,” Ma said. “It’s our country’s policy [to implement the UN resolutions]. Whatever we are told to do, we just follow.”
Commenting on Friday on the US sanctions against Bank of Dandong, Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, slammed the US action as an overreach of jurisdiction.
“China, as a UN Security Council permanent member, has always fully, accurately, seriously and strictly implemented the Security Council’s resolutions related to North Korea and carried out its due international obligations,” Hua said. “At the same time, we also firmly oppose any country exercising so-called long-arm jurisdiction on other countries in accordance with its domestic laws.”
Given Dandong’s close proximity to North Korea, it is normal that some of its business is connected to the country, but “the US claims are exaggerated and baseless,” Lü said.
“The Chinese government has already conducted investigations into businesses, including banks and companies, in Dandong and other border regions and banned any business operations violating the UN resolutions, and for the US to make such an accusation without any evidence, it just doesn’t make any sense,” he said.
Source: Global Times