China to investigate firms sanctioned by US over North Korea

China said Friday it will look into charges against two Chinese firms sanctioned by the U.S. because they are suspected of helping North Korea evade sanctions.

China upholds all United Nations Security Council sanctions against the North over its nuclear and missile programs, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing. He said China will deal with any verified transgressors and "launch an investigation according to our domestic laws."

However, Geng said Beijing opposes unilateral sanctions on Chinese firms such as those imposed by the U.S. separate from those of the U.N.

The Trump administration on Thursday sanctioned two shipping companies — Dalian Haibo International Freight Co. Ltd. and Liaoning Danxing International Forwarding Co. Ltd. — for using deceptive methods to circumvent international and U.S. sanctions and the U.S. commitment to implementing U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The U.S. Treasury sanctions against the Chinese companies were the first targeted actions against Pyongyang since its nuclear negotiations with the U.S. in Hanoi last month ended without agreement.

Calls to Dalian Haibo and Liaoning Danxing rang without response Friday or were answered by people who immediately hung up the phone.