The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned two Chinese shipping companies, saying they played a role in helping North Korea circumvent sanctions in place.
According to the Treasury, China-based Dalian Haibo International Freight Co. Ltd. provided goods and services to, or in support of, the U.S.-designated Paeksol Trading Corp., which was sanctioned for purchasing metal or coal from North Korea. The revenue from the Paeksol transactions may have benefited the North Korean government or the Workers' Party of Korea, according to the Treasury.
The U.S. also sanctioned Liaoning Danxing International Forwarding Co. Ltd. for using deceptive practices that allowed EU-based North Korean procurement officials to operate and buy goods for the North Korean government.
The announcement is the first since a recent summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, ended abruptly without any agreement.
The U.S., which has been ramping up pressure on North Korea to give up its nuclear missile programs, is also adding dozens of vessels that are believed to have engaged in ship-to-ship transfers with North Korean tankers or exported North Korean coal.
Meanwhile, the U.S. and China continue to work toward a deal to end the trade war. Trump said he plans to keep the tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods in place for a "substantial period of time" amid concerns that Beijing may not follow through on commitments it makes in a trade deal.