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Risky Business

Is Trump willing to anger Beijing and go after the Chinese companies supplying North Korea’s nuclear program?
LINDA DAVIDSON/THE WASHINGTON POST/GETTY
RATCHETING ROCKETS: The launch of this ground-to-ground rocket in May disturbed U.S. officials, and the crisis got even hotter in early July when North Korea tested something U.S. officials told CNN “has not been seen before.
AFP/GETTY

The city of Dandong, in China’s northeastern Liaoning province, appears to be an embarrassing relic of the country’s economic past. Old, run-down state-owned factories sit on the outskirts of a town full of dreary office buildings. There is none of the flash and glitz so prevalent in China’s far more prosperous cities.

But Dandong is nevertheless one of China’s most important cities, because it sits just across the border from North Korea and is Pyongyang’s economic lifeline. Nearly 85 percent of North Korea’s global trade is with China, and much of that flows through Dandong. That includes the machinery, purchased in contravention of both U.S. and U.N. sanctions, needed to build nuclear weapons, as well as the missiles needed to deliver them. And, crucially, Dandong is also the source of the off shore financing from Chinese banks that Pyongyang needs to pay for its illicit weapons program.

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GOING NUCLEAR Is Trump willing to anger Beijing and go after the Chinese companies supplying North Korea’s nuclear program? Can he really stop the ten Chinese companies that are currently supplying North Korea?
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