United States, President Donald Trump administration has launched new sanctions against 50 vessels, shipping companies and trade businesses in a bid to ratchet up pressure on North Korea over its nuclear program – the largest round of sanctions yet.
NEW: Pres. Trump at #CPAC2018 announces new sanctions against North Korea: "We imposed today the heaviest sanctions ever imposed on a country before… and frankly, hopefully something positive can happen." pic.twitter.com/7UkE7IXMcg
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) 23 February 2018
“Today I am announcing that we are launching the largest-ever set of new sanctions on the North Korean regime,” Trump said.
“We have imposed the heaviest sanctions ever imposed,” President Trump said at the conclusion of his speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference.
The restrictions are yet another attempt to put pressure on Pyongyang over its nuclear and ballistic missile tests as US brushes off the idea of negotiations.
North Korea last year conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test despite UN Security Council resolutions.
The sanctions are directed at one person, 27 companies, and 28 vessels, according to a statement on the US Treasury Department’s website.
The North Korean shipping industry is the main way in which North Korea gets round sanctions to fund its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, according to the US Treasury. The last round of US restrictions came in January 2018 when the US Treasury Department added 16 individuals, nine entities, and six ships to the North Korea sanctions blacklist, including two companies based in China.
These come on top of sanctions launched by the UN Security Council in 2017 which targeted North Korea’s export of coal, iron, and iron ore.
Both Russia and China have urged caution in response to North Korea. In January, Moscow and Beijing proposed a ‘double freeze’ initiative that envisaged the US and its allies ceasing all major military exercises in the region in exchange for Pyongyang suspending its nuclear and ballistic missile program.
The initiative was rejected by Washington.