Trump announces 'heaviest sanctions ever' against N. Korea

Pauline Gross
February 24, 2018

China is North Korea's largest trading partner, and Beijing has agreed to scale back some economic ties.

Speaking to conservative activists outside of Washington Friday, President Trump described them as "the heaviest sanctions ever imposed" on a country. In December the United Nations approved US-drafted limiting North Korea's access to refined petroleum products and crude oil, which the North Korean Foreign Ministry said amounted to an act of war. US experts say the country sees its weapons programs as an insurance policy to guarantee regime survival.

China is said to account for about 90 percent of North Korea's external trade and be its main access point to the global financial system.

According to Mnuchin, she briefed South Korean President Moon Jae-in about the new North Korea sanctions.

Asked whether the US planned to board vessels bound for North Korea, the secretary replied, "I can not rule that out". It defends the weapons programs as essential to deter USA aggression.

But North Korean ships have continued to export coal and make ship-to-ship transfers of imported oil and petroleum products in spite of prohibitions set by the United Nations sanctions.

Additionally, the department designated a Taiwanese citizen, Tsang Yung Yuan, and two companies he owns or controls.

Those sanctions included a cap on North Korean oil imports.

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"The treasury is aggressively targeting all illicit avenues used by North Korea to evade sanctions, including taking decisive action to block the vessels, shipping companies, and entities across the globe that work on North Korea's behalf", the treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, said.

Recent reports from Japan, South Korea and the USA all indicate that several of North Korea's oil tankers are involved in the ship to ship (STS) transfers of fuel products at sea.

Today he revealed he would impose the "largest ever" economic attack on the hermit state, which relies heavily on outside assistance from allies Russian Federation and China.

North Korea has become increasingly reliant on global trade in recent years, making sanctions potentially more effective at destabilizing the North's fragile economic system, which functions as a command economy propped up by illicit market activities that survive on bribes and corruption. 'And. hopefully something positive can happen, we will see. According to a report by the USA -based research group C4AD and South Korea's Asan Institute for Policy Studies, Hongxiang carried out imports and exports worth a total of $532 million in 2011-15.

Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and adviser, is in South Korea for the closing ceremony of the games.

The sanctions, he said, "shine a spotlight on the practices employed by the government of North Korea to falsify identification information on ships and illicit cargo".

The new penalties target 27 shipping companies, 28 vessels and one individual from several different countries.

Other reports by GizPress

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