More than a week after President Barack Obama announced sanctions on North Korea, officials are hoping to further target and isolate the communist regime where it really hurts—its international finance machine. Access to banks, predominantly in China, allows the rogue state to fund and access everything from weapons materials to luxury goods.
While the vast majority of North Korea's 25 million people live in poverty and isolation, the country's elite—operating mostly from Pyongyang—conducts business using commercial banks abroad. China provides North Korea with the "lion's share" of financial access, said Daniel Glaser, the U.S. Treasury's assistant secretary for terrorist financing.
"Identify financial institutions outside of North Korea that provide points of access—that's exactly what we're doing," Glaser said.
He made the comments Tuesday at a House Foreign Affairs Committee briefing on North Korea's potential cybersecurity, nuclear and missile threats.
"We need to step up and target those financial institutions in Asia and beyond that are supporting the brutal and dangerous North Korean regime," said Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.