United States imposes more North Korea sanctions, Trump warns of 'phase two'

Saturday, 24 Feb, 2018

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.

The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control described the move as the largest North Korea-related sanctions action yet, in the ongoing U.S. "maximum pressure campaign" to force Pyongyang to relinquish its nuclear weapons and missile programmes.

Ivanka Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in (right) attend a dinner in South Korea at the same time the United States announced tough new sanctions.

Trump's daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump, who is in Seoul, South Korea, to attend the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics as the USA representative, briefed South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the sanctions, according to a senior administration official. 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.

With help from the Department of Treasury, the Trump administration is attempting to put pressure on DPRK for its testing of ballistic and nuclear missiles, a White House official told Reuters.

The latest designations are primarily meant to crack down on North Korea's evasion of wider-ranging sanctions adopted by the United Nations Security Council and the United States that are more economically significant.

Still, the president expressed hope that the economic sanctions announced earlier Friday will work.

North Korea athletes joined with those from the South during the games in a sign of easing tensions.

In terms of the number of entities targeted Friday, Mnuchin is probably correct about the history of sanctions on North Korea.

U.S. leaders have been keen to stress that North Korea still poses a nuclear threat despite warming ties with the South. "As such, the United States will continue targeting persons, wherever located, who facilitate North Korea's illicit shipping practices".

While that claim was questionable, it significantly tightens the noose on North Korean trading. The strategy includes sanctioning entities that the USA believes provide oil and other financial assistance to North Korea. Another administration official said that the USA would seek United Nations designations on the entities that were unilaterally sanctioned on Friday.

During a dinner with President Moon Thursday, Ivanka stressed the U.S.'s commitment "to our maximum pressure campaign to ensure that the Korean Peninsula is denuclearized", echoing previous messaging from Vice President Mike Pence.

The Treasury called the sanctions package unveiled Friday the "largest North Korea-related sanctions tranche to date". 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.

"This is very much a worldwide effort", the official said.