Bank of China cuts ties with North Korean bank

Bank of China ended its ties with a North Korean bank on Tuesday, a step that represents part of a recent U.N. Security Council resolution, a State Department spokesperson said on Wednesday.

Patrick Ventrell, the acting deputy spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, said the recent decision by China to cut its ties with the North Korean bank is a sanction implemented by a member state. Like U.S. sanctions against North Korea, the recent Chinese sanction is further encouragement for North Korea to denuclearize.

"We agree with China on the goal to denuclearize North Korea," Ventrell said. "We're working closely with China to ensure that North Korea understands that they need to choose the path of denuclearization, or instead to face increased isolation. So we've put in place a robust sanctions program to target and impede North Korea's WMD and ballistic missile programs. And we welcome steps by the international community, including China, to fully implement these sanctions."

While Ventrell would not comment on how much influence the State Department expected to see from China cutting its ties with the North Korean bank, he said the U.S. was urging China to use its influence to get North Korea to change its decision-making strategy.

"This is a dialogue we've had very intensively with China, and we welcome steps that increase the sanctions," Ventrell said. "You know they have a special relationship and a special influence, and we continue to urge them to use that influence to help get North Korea to make better decisions."