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China Criticizes US Bank Penalties     06/25 06:18

   BEIJING (AP) -- China on Tuesday criticized Washington's efforts to enforce 
U.S. law abroad following a news report three Chinese banks might be penalized 
over dealings with North Korea.

   The banks named by The Washington Post as facing possible loss of access to 
the U.S. financial system denied they were under investigation.

   The Post said a court found three Chinese banks in contempt for ignoring 
demands for information about possible violations of sanctions imposed over 
North Korea's nuclear program. The newspaper said the court didn't identify the 
banks but their details fit the identities of Bank of Communications, China 
Merchants Bank and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank.

   "We consistently oppose the so-called long-armed jurisdiction of the United 
States on Chinese companies," said a foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang. 
Geng gave no confirmation of the Post's report.

   The order comes at a time of U.S.-Chinese tension over technology and trade 
disputes. The two governments have raised tariffs on billions of dollars of 
each other's imports. Washington has threatened to reduce Chinese tech giant 
Huawei's access to U.S. components and technology.

   The ruling by a federal judge in Washington means U.S. authorities can 
terminate the banks' ability to process transactions in U.S. dollars, the Post 
said.

   The Post said the judge rejected arguments based on Chinese privacy law due 
to Beijing's "dismal compliance record" with such requests and Washington's 
interest in countering North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

   Beijing, long the isolated North's only major ally, has supported U.N. 
sanctions intended to force leader Kim Jong Un's government to give up nuclear 
and missile development.

   The Chinese banks said they comply with U.N. sanctions on North Korea.

   "China Merchants Bank has consistently and strictly complied with Chinese 
laws and relevant U.N. resolutions and other applicable sanctions and has not 
been investigated for alleged violations," the bank said in a statement 
reported by Chinese media.

   A statement by Pudong Development Bank said it is legally barred from 
releasing customer information without permission. China Merchants Bank said 
requests should be made in line with a U.S.-Chinese judicial assistance 
agreement.


(KA)

 
 
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