Feb 23, 2018

Trump announces new North Korea sanctions on ships, businesses

President Trump announced that the U.S. is enacting new, heightened sanctions on North Korea during his speech at CPAC Friday morning.

The details: The White House said today that Treasury Department plans to take "new action" to stop major revenue sources that North Korea uses to fund it's nuclear and military programs "by targeting 27 entities, 28 vessels and one individuals all involved in sanction evasion schemes." This round of sanctions does not address the ways North Korea could evade sanctions through cyber means, such as through cryptocurrencies, according to a senior administration official.

Backdrop:

  • The U.S. government has released photos alleging six Chinese-owned or –operated cargo ships of helping North Korea trade in violation of UN sanctions on the regime.
  • Japan this week said it has observed a tanker with Chinese characters and a North Korean vessel possibly violating sanctions in the East China Sea. Tokyo last month also claimed a North Korean oil tanker was taking on cargo in the East China Sea, possibly violating sanctions as well.
  • Reuters reported last year that Western European security sources said Russian vessels were helping North Korea evade sanctions on maritime routes as well.

Bottom line: The goal is “to increase the pressure on the North Korean regime” to show Kim Jong-un that there is “no other action to take but denuclearization,” a senior administration official told reporters on a call Friday. Kim Jong-un has said North Korea will never give up its nuclear program.

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