U.S. imposing new sanctions on North Korean bank: Obama aide

Posted at 03/12/2013 7:26 AM | Updated as of 03/12/2013 7:26 AM

New York - The U.S. Treasury is imposing sanctions against North Korea's Foreign Trade Bank, the country's main foreign exchange institution, for its role in supporting Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program, President Barack Obama's national security adviser said on Monday.

In a speech to the Asia Society in New York, the White House aide, Tom Donilon, also said China should not conduct "business as usual" with North Korea while Pyongyang threatens its neighbors.

"The United States will not accept North Korea as a nuclear state," Donilon said in prepared remarks. "Nor will we stand by while it seeks to develop a nuclear-armed missile that can target the United States."

He said Washington was willing to negotiate with North Korea but insisted that it must first take "meaningful steps" to meet its international obligations.

The Treasury Department said it was designating for sanctions three individuals in connection with the Foreign Trade Bank: Pak To-Chun, Chu Kyu-Chang and O Kuk-Ryol. It also sanctioned Paek Se-Bong, chairman of North Korea's Second Economic Committee.

"North Korea uses FTB to facilitate transactions on behalf of actors linked to its proliferation network, which is under increasing pressure from recent international sanctions," the Treasury said in a statement.