Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

US Imposes Toughest Sanctions Ever on North Korea's Communist Regime

Donald Trump Kim Jong Un US Imposes Toughest Sanctions Ever on North Korea's Communist Regime
Patty Aguilar | 25 February, 2018, 07:46

WASHINGTON | The heaviest, the largest, the most impactful.

The timing of Friday's announcement came hours after South Korean President Moon Jae-in hosted Trump's daughter Ivanka, who will lead the US delegation to the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

In light of past U.S. embargoes, that is likely an overstatement, but Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin confirmed the sanctions covered "virtually all the ships" North Korea is "using at this moment in time".

President Donald Trump said Friday his administration is imposing the largest USA sanctions package yet against North Korea for its nuclear weapons program.

US President Donald Trump on Friday said the sanctions were meant to put "maximum pressure" on North Korea to roll back its weapons programs.

During a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday, President Trump said the US implemented against North Korea "the heaviest sanctions ever imposed by our country before".

While suspect ships have been intercepted before, the emerging strategy would expand the scope of such operations, but stop short of imposing a naval blockade on North Korea.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Beijing had always fully enforced United Nations resolutions on North Korea.

Vessels registered in China and a range of other countries were among the entities included in the sanctions, as well as Chinese and Hong Kong shipping companies. That appeared to be the most companies or individuals designated by the U.S.at a single time.

"And even though North Korea has yet to end its nuclear and missile programs, we know the sanctions are having a real impact", Haley said in an address to the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics.

But in purely economic terms, both Mnuchin and Trump are well wide of the mark.

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Japan joined the United States in supporting the request concerning three of the 33 vessels for carrying out ship-to-ship transfers of oil destined for North Korea in violation of UN resolutions.

"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", an official said. If those measures are properly implemented, that would reduce the North's export revenues by 90 percent from 2016 levels or by $2.3 billion annually. They capped refined oil imports at 500,000 barrels a year.

Moon said North Korea's participation in the Olympics was an "opportunity" for inter-Korean dialogue, which had "led to lowering of tensions on the peninsula and an improvement in inter-Korean relations".

Livid Chinese diplomats claim they can not accept the biggest ever package of sanctions being placed on the Korean peninsular, aimed at ending once and for all, the North Korean missile programme. With Friday's measures, Mnuchin said the US has gone after "virtually all their ships that they're using at this moment".

She was hosted in Seoul by President Moon Jae-in, who has long advocated talks rather than confrontation with North Korea.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement that the new prohibitions will deter North Korea from evading previous sanctions.

"As impressive as the list is in length, it is underwhelming in its scope and fails to live up to the hype", it said.

North Korea has been developing nuclear-tipped missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland and Mr Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have exchanged taunts that have raised fears of war.

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

China has repeatedly expressed opposition to any sanctions against North Korea not done within the framework of the United Nations, and insisted it is fully enforcing the existing - and already very tough - sanctions.

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