U.S. seeks $1.9 million from Chinese bank it says helped North Korea – China’s latest political and current affairs news


A summary of the top news in Chinese politics and current affairs for June 16, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

United States prosecutors want to seize a $1.9 million transaction made in 2015 through the American financial system by Mingzheng International Trading Limited, a Chinese company that they accuse of being a front company for the sanctioned Foreign Trade Bank of North Korea, the New York Times reports (paywall). If the penalty is approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, it would be “one of the largest seizures of North Korean funds” the U.S. Justice Department has made, the prosecutors noted in a statement.

In other China-North Korea news in the Times, White House correspondent Mark Landler says (paywall) that Donald Trump has made a big bet on China, by softening his stance on trade and being quiet about the South China Sea, “based on his calculation that Mr. Xi, the Chinese president, could put heavy pressure on North Korea to curb its nuclear weapons and missile programs.”

But, Landler writes, “a growing number of Mr. Trump’s aides fear that the bet is not paying off.” The piece ends with a killer quote: “‘There is a perception that the Chinese played to his vanity and fleeced him,’ said Christopher R. Hill, a special envoy on North Korea during the George W. Bush administration.”