US, China & Japan Reign in North Korean Banks

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China and Japan are going after a major North Korean bank, showing that the threat of a nuclear-armed rogue state is enough to make these two nations set aside their rivalries, at least for now.

[Yoshihide Suga, Japan Chief Cabinet Secretary]:
"Regarding the U.N. sanctions on North Korea that restrict its financial activities and transfer of people and goods, the government will take speedy actions in possible areas...restriction targets will include North Korea's Foreign Trade Bank for example."

The US Treasury department said last week it would also take action against North Korea's Foreign Trade Bank. It's the North's main foreign exchange institution and has a major role in funding its nuclear weapons program.

After lengthy deliberations between the US and China, the United Nations Security Council imposed stricter sanctions on North Korea on March 7th to reel in their nuclear program.

The Chinese regime, for its part, has reportedly applied pressure on North Korean banking institution inside China. But earlier in March, South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo did an expose on a several dozen accounts found in Chinese banks. They contain hundreds of millions of dollars-worth of slush funds for North Korea's ruler Kim Jong-un.

Technically, the slush funds were not part of the UN sanctions, and their discovery raised question over how effective the financial sanctions could be.

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