U.S. imposes largest package of sanctions against North Korea

U.S. imposes largest package of sanctions against North Korea

U.S. imposes largest package of sanctions against North Korea

President Trump went further, declaring in a speech Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference that it was "the heaviest sanctions ever imposed on a country before".

In a statement, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S.is "taking decisive action to block the vessels, shipping companies, and entities across the globe that work on North Korea's behalf".

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

The sanctions come after a year of tough rhetoric between the United States and North Korea over the regime's development of nuclear weapons, even as North Korea and South Korea have appeared to improve relations in the midst of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Doing so would really give the new move punch, but it's unclear if North Korea's backers China and Russian Federation would sign on to those.

"As if the sanctions themselves were not warning enough, there is now this stark warning to the rest of the shipping community that the U.S.is actively looking to punish those who are engaging with North Korea", said Schanzer, now the senior vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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President Trump did not rule out a nuclear attack against North Korea Friday, vowing to take it to "phase two" if the most recent round of sanctions prove ineffective.

The latest round hit nine global shipping companies from China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Panama, and nine of their vessels, barring them from doing business with the U.S.

Also on Friday, the Treasury Department released photos of what it said were North Korean ships using fraudulent names and ID numbers. Another administration official said that the US would seek United Nations designations on the entities that were unilaterally sanctioned on Friday.

According to Treasury, North Korea has been using a number of deceptive practices to evade global prohibitions on trade, including physically altering vessel identification, falsifying cargo and vessel documents, disabling and manipulation collision avoidance systems and orchestrating ship-to-ship transfers outside of ports.

Treasury warned the identified firms and vessels they faced big risks by working with North Korea.

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After that, no crude exports to North Korea are recorded, but market sources in North Asia say North Korea now takes about 6 million barrels/year of Chinese crude.

Vice President Mike Pence was scheduled to meet with top North Korean officials earlier this month, but the meeting was canceled at the last minute, according to press reports.

Mnuchin said at least one person on the list of oligarchs close to the Kremlin had already been targeted under a separate US sanctions program. We have tremendous support all around the world for what they're doing.

He said close cooperation between the US and South Korea is important for the talks.

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.

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Ivanka Trump's visit to South Korea coincides with that of a sanctioned North Korean official, Kim Yong Chol, blamed for the deadly 2010 sinking of a South Korean navy ship that killed 46 sailors. But the Treasury Department did not give an overall figure for how much revenue the North would be deprived of because of the latest actions, other than to say that nine vessels of newly blacklisted foreign vessels "are capable of carrying over $5.5 million worth of coal at a time".

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