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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

China Regrets U.S. Decision on Bank

BEIJING -- China expressed "deep regret" Thursday over a U.S. decision to punish a Macau bank for alleged money laundering of North Korean funds, foreshadowing the difficulties ahead in enforcing an international agreement on North Korea's nuclear disarmament.

As part last month's agreement, Washington promised to resolve its blacklisting of the tiny Banco Delta Asia and the freezing of $24 million in North Korean deposits as an inducement to Pyongyang. The U.S. Treasury Department's decision Wednesday ordering U.S. banks to sever ties with Banco Delta Asia appeared to fall short of expectations.

"We feel deep regret for the ruling by the U.S.," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.

Qin did not explicitly say why China was displeased. He suggested that the U.S. move could affect North Korea's disarmament, as well as the reputation of Macau, a semiautonomous territory under Chinese rule.

North Korea has yet to respond publicly to the U.S. Treasury's decision.