WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- The United States' top diplomat on Asia said Washington could go after other Chinese firms found in violation of international sanctions against North Korea.
Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel told reporters on Wednesday if China does not take action against domestic firms engaging in illicit North Korea trade the United States has a right to take unilateral measures, South Korean television network KBS reported.
Russel said the United States has a right to implement United Nations Security Council sanctions Resolution 2270, adopted in March, if China does not take action, according to the report.
In September the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions against Hongxiang Industrial, a network of interlinked companies and operations, for "supporting North Korea's weapons proliferation," according to the Treasury's chief sanctions official Adam J. Szubin.
The action marked the first time the Treasury Department has placed Chinese firms under sanctions in connection to North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and missiles.
But Russel also emphasized the importance of cooperation with China on sanctions, and said that despite the difference in perspective the United States is cooperating with China on North Korea.
The U.S. official also said the two sides are sharing information and that Kim Jong is not in a good situation.
Pyongyang has defended its nuclear weapons program as a deterrent against possible U.S. attacks, but Russel said the North Korean claims are ridiculous, according to KBS.
In 2016 North Korea conducted two nuclear tests and engaged in more than 20 separate instances of missile test-launches.