US targets Chinese firms for alleged NKorea sanctions dodge

Protesters wearing masks of U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stand near the map of Korean Peninsula during a rally dema

Protesters wearing masks of U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stand near the map of Korean Peninsula during a rally dema

Protesters hold signs during a rally demanding the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and peace treaty near the U.S. embassy in Seoul, South Kor

Protesters hold signs during a rally demanding the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and peace treaty near the U.S. embassy in Seoul, South Kor

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is sanctioning two Chinese shipping companies suspected of helping North Korea evade sanctions.

Thursday's punitive action is the first taken against Pyongyang since nuclear negotiations with the U.S. in Hanoi last month ended without agreement.

Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, says the maritime industry must do more to stop North Korea's illicit shipping practices. He said in a tweet that everyone should review their own activities to ensure they are not involved in North Korea's sanctions evasion.

The White House says the sanctions are evidence that the U.S. is maintaining its pressure on North Korea in an effort to coax Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear weapons program.