Trump announces new sanctions on N Korea

ANI | Updated: Feb 24, 2018 04:44 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb 24 (ANI): United States President Donald Trump on Friday announced new sanctions on North Korea, specifically targeting the country's shipping and trading companies, in a fitting response to further isolate the communist country economically.

Announcing the new sanctions at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) here, Trump imposed sanctions against 27 entities and 28 ship vessels either registered or flagged in several countries, including North Korea, China and Singapore, the CNN reported.

16 North Korean shipping companies and nine international shipping companies were added to the US sanctions' list.

The US also included a Taiwanese citizen named Tsang Yung Yuan in the list, who has coordinated North Korea coal exports with a Russia-based North Korean broker. Tsang has a record of sanctions evasion activities, according to the US Treasury Department.

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

In an advisory, the Treasury Department, the US State Department and the US Coast Guard, have also warned the public of significant sanctions they could face if they help to enable any shipments of goods to and from North Korea.

The advisory has also alerted the industries of North Korea's deceptive shipping practices.

"The President has made it clear to the companies worldwide that if they choose to fund North Korea's nuclear ambitions, they will not do business with the United States," Mnuchin added.

While the new sanctions solely focus on "elicit maritime activity," administration officials clarified that it is aimed at denuclearising the Korean Peninsula.

"The President is clearly frustrated, and rightly so, over efforts that have failed in the past and also over the uptick in testing and the advancements we have seen in the North Korean program in the recent period of time and over the last couple of decades. The point of these sanctions is not just to punish the rogue nation, but to raise the cost of doing business with North Korea for other countries," an official said.

North Korea has been known to falsify and conceal information displayed on its vessels and conduct ship-to-ship transfers, which is currently prohibited by the United Nations.

The new sanctions come as the Trump's daughter and senior adviser Ivanka is in Pyeongchang in South Korea to attend the closing ceremony of the Winter Games on Sunday.

Continuing his tirade against North Korea, Trump on Friday said that Washington could initiate military action on Pyongyang if the new sanctions do not curb the communist country's nuclear ambitions.

We'll have to see. I don't think I'm going to exactly play that card. But we'll have to see. If the sanctions don't work we'll have to go to phase two. Phase two may be a very rough thing. May be very, very unfortunate for the world," Trump continued.

"But hopefully the sanctions will work. We have tremendous support all around the world for what they're doing. It really is a rogue nation. If they can make a deal it will be a great thing. If we can't, something will have to happen. So we'll see," Trump asserted during his meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Earlier this month, US Vice President Mike Pence hinted that the US would impose the "largest and toughest" ever sanctions on North Korea.

The US and North Korea have long been engaged in back-and-forth barbs over the latter's threat of a nuclear attack, ever since Trump took over as the US President last year.

Trump threatened to rain "fire and fury" on North Korea and also called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as a "Little Rocket Man", while North Korea denounced Trump as a "mentally deranged" US dotard. (ANI)