China tells banks to stop services to N. Korean customers

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BEIJING/HONG KONG: China's central bank has told banks to strictly implement UN sanctions against North Korea, sources told Reuters, amid US concerns that Beijing has not been tough enough over Pyongyang's repeated nuclear tests.

Tensions between the US and North Korea have ratcheted up after the sixth and most powerful nuclear test conducted by Pyongyang on Sept 3 prompted further UN sanctions last week.

The sources said banks were told to stop providing financial services to new North Korean customers and to wind down loans with existing ones.

The lenders were also asked to fully implement UN sanctions against North Korea and were warned of the economic losses and reputational risks if they did not do so, added the sources.

Chinese banks reportedly received the document on Sept 18.

China's central bank did not respond to a request for comment.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered new sanctions that open the door wider to blacklisting people and entities doing business with North Korea, including its shipping and trade networks, further tightening the screws on Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes. - REUTERS

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