A senior Obama administration official on Friday said he was hopeful China will act forcefully to implement U.N. Security Council sanctions against North Korea, Reuters reported.
"We've heard nothing but the strong intention to implement the Security Council resolution, and we fully expect to work very cooperatively with the Chinese in the robust implementation of that resolution," U.S. Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen said to journalists in the Chinese capital.
The latest Security Council resolution -- passed earlier this month in response to North Korea's third nuclear test -- seeks to curb the Kim Jong Un regime's ability to acquire foreign currency, which it uses to fund nuclear and missile development. As China is the North's primary trading partner, its adherence is seen as critical to the success of the U.N. sanctions.
"It's no secret that there is a fair amount of financial relationship between China and North Korea and Chinese financial institutions in North Korea," Cohen said. "I have every confidence" that Chinese financial institutions and government banking officials will observe the new international penalties, he added.
Meanwhile, the South Korean defense chief under former President Lee Myung-bak will stay on for now under the new administration of President Park Geun-hye, the Yonhap News Agency reported on Friday.
Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin is remaining in office to avoid a leadership gap at a time when South Korea is focusing on deterring new North Korean attacks, according to Park's office. Park's original nominee for the defense leadership bowed out of the confirmation process.
"For now, I will devote myself to coping with the current security situation," Kim said. "I will firmly maintain military readiness to be able to retaliate if provoked."