China stops bank transfers to North Korea

TEXT OF STORY

LISA NAPOLI: Looks like the Secretary of State is getting some help from China. The Chinese government has ordered its country's banks to stop financial transfers to North Korea. Condoleezza Rice is in Beijing today to gather support for sanctions against North Korea and to appeal again for a halt to its nuclear program, as Ruth Kirchner reports.


RUTH KIRCHNER: Employees at four commercial banks said they had stopped the transfers under orders from the Chinese government.

Analysts say this could be a serious blow to North Korea's frail economy although there's no information available on the scale of the financial transfers.

Beijing has hinted that it's also considering reducing oil shipments.

Writer Jasper Becker says China was clearly angered by North Korea's nuclear test last week but has no clear new policy yet on how to deal with it.

JASPER BECKER: There's real debate going on for the first time whether China should really reconsider its position and just dump North Korea and Kim Jong Il. I think at the moment the leadership is rather confused what they should do.

China is North Korea's biggest trading partner and provides up to 90 percent of its oil.

In Beijing, I'm Ruth Kirchner for Marketplace.

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