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President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting on women in healthcare, Wednesday, March 22, 2017, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

China said Trump's claim its banks cut off North Korea is 'not consistent with the facts'


President Trump's claim that China has told its banks to stop doing business with North Korea may not be accurate, according to a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman.

"As far as I know, what you have mentioned just now is not consistent with the facts," Lu Kang said Friday during a press briefing.

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Kang's comments follow Trump's praise of China on Thursday for instructing banks to cease business with North Korea, noting the action "was somewhat unexpected and we appreciate it."

Lu did not offer further details, but said that "in principle, China has always implemented the U.N. Security Council's resolutions in their entirety and fulfilled our due responsibility." The Security Council has pushed members to restrict North Korean bank activity abroad as a result of the hermit country's nuclear and missile tests.

Trump's comments were not confirmed by U.S. officials. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has spoken with China's central bank, but did not comment on the "confidential discussions."

China is in a bit of a predicament with the North Korea issue. On the one hand, it wants North Korea to cease its provocative nuclear program. On the other, China is responsible for 90 percent of North Korean foreign trade and acts as the country's main partner. Beijing has cut off several imports in conjunction with U.N. sanctions, but has expressed concern about harming the well-being of regular North Koreans while the international community looks to stop dictator Kim Jong Un from advancing his nuclear program.

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The Kim regime has largely ignored international pressure to cease the program, and has threatened to test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific. Trump has expanded the U.S. government's crack down on North Korean trade by expanding the Treasury Department's ability to target those who do business with the North Koreans and banning them from the U.S. financial system.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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