Trump to announce 'largest-ever' sanctions against North Korea

Elias Hubbard
February 24, 2018

The new United States sanctions will be announced while President Trump's daughter, Ivanka, is visiting South Korea to attend a dinner with Moon and the closing ceremony of the Games.

While that claim was questionable - previous US measures have targeted bigger players in the North Korean economy, including Chinese and Russian business networks - it significantly tightens the noose on North Korean trading. It defends the weapons programs as essential to deter USA aggression.

Prior to the announcement, a White House pool report containing the excerpts of President Trump's speech on the new sanctions was made public earlier in the day. "Phase Two may be a very rough thing".

"It really is a rogue nation", Trump said in reference to North Korea. "If we can't, something will have to happen". The restrictions are meant to deprive it of revenue and resources for its nuclear and ballistic missile development.

On January 24, Treasury sanctioned 16 individuals, six vessels and nine entities, including the North Korean Ministry of Crude Oil Industry, in response North Korea's development of weapons of mass destruction and trade in violation of United Nations resolutions.

The Panamanian KOTI Corp, also designated, owns the ship KOTI, which was impounded recently by South Korea on suspicion of conducting ship-to-ship transfers involving oil with North Korean vessels.

The only designated individual was a Taiwanese national named Tsang Yung Yuan who was sanctioned pursuant to Executive Order 13722.

Guterres told the conference: "It is important to note that the unity that the Security Council has been able to. put, through sanctions, a very meaningful pressure over North Korea, and that pressure in my opinion is absolutely essential to be maintained".

In a conference call with reporters shortly before the Trump speech, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control detailed the sanctions - which are aimed at, among other things, hindering the regime's ability to transport coal and fuel in worldwide waters.

"We believe that a major part of corporate taxes are borne by the workers", Mr Mnuchin said.

It comes after weeks where both countries have set aside heated rhetoric and put off military drills for the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Trump ratcheted up his rhetoric even further later that day, saying that if the sanctions do not work, the US will have to "go phase two".

Two weeks ago, USA vice-president Mike Pence, who attended the Olympics opening ceremonies, promised the "toughest and most aggressive" economic sanctions yet against North Korea.

During a pre-dinner briefing with President Moon Jae-in, Ivanka said her visit was to "reaffirm our commitment to our maximum pressure campaign to ensure that the Korean Peninsula is denuclearized".

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said following the release of the sanctions list that Washington will keep sanctioning North Korea in order to keep a focus on Pyongyang's actions. The strategy includes sanctioning entities that the USA believes provide oil and other financial assistance to North Korea.

The agencies also alerted those industries of North Korea's deceptive shipping practices.

Pyongyang is subject to a series of UN Security Council sanctions, including one prohibiting all member states from facilitating or engaging in ship-to-ship transfers of goods to or from North Korean-flagged vessels.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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