China appears to be tired of the US and other nations blaming Beijing for not reining in North Korea. “The ‘China responsibility theory’ on the peninsula nuclear issue can stop,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, per Reuters. He didn’t name names, but he said that “certain people, talking about the Korean peninsula nuclear issue, have been exaggerating and giving prominence” to China’s role. (President Trump has been among them.) Geng said other nations must step up, too, and the Wall Street Journal reports that the US is preparing to do just that, but in a way that surely won’t please Beijing. The report says the Justice Department is readying its own sanctions against North Korea, with the target being Chinese businesses and banks thought to be bankrolling the regime.
Specifically, the feds may go after a network run by a Chinese national named Chi Yupeng, who is one of the biggest importers of North Korean products into China. The Justice Department, citing information from North Korean defectors, says Chi’s network funnels money to the North’s military. All this is playing out in the wake of Pyongyang’s July 4 launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile—North Korea celebrated the feat as only North Korea can—but South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency is now raising a key doubt about that launch. The South’s spy agency does not believe that the North has figured out how to keep an ICBM stable as it re-enters the atmosphere after launch. Without such a system, the North wouldn’t be able to mount a warhead, nuclear or otherwise, and expect it to survive the re-entry process, explains CNN.