Trump to announce 'largest-ever' sanctions against North Korea

The US is slapping financial sanctions on dozens of companies and vessels from nine countries with links to North Korean shipping, the Treasury Department said Friday.

President Donald Trump was set to announce the action at the Conservative Political Action Conference, followed by a public announcement from the Treasury Department. Kim has claimed he will never give up his nuclear program, though, and says it has made rapid advances in the past year.

He cautioned the United States will "have to go to phase two" if the sanctions don't have Washington's desired impact, adding that "may be a very rough thing. very unfortunate for the world", Reuters news agency reported. "That just was announced and I wanted to let you know".

"I do want to say, because people have asked: North Korea", he said before briefly mentioning the sanctions. "Hopefully something positive can happen". The administration on Friday also targeted 16 North Korean shipping companies and 19 of their vessels.

On Thursday, 22 February, Pence continued the rhetoric by calling Kim Jo Yong, the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, "a central pillar of the most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet".

But the economic impact is unclear.

The entities sanctioned include companies based in China, Singapore and Panama.

How advanced is North Korea's nuclear programme? The actions block assets held by the firms and individuals in the United States and prohibit US citizens from dealing with them. "Those who trade with North Korea do so at that their own peril". "As such, The United States will continue targeting persons, wherever located, who facilitate North Korea's illicit shipping practices", it said.

The announcement comes two months after the UN Security Council said it was imposing its toughest sanctions yet on North Korea.

Trump attended a dinner earlier on Friday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. With Friday's measures, Mnuchin said the USA has gone after "virtually all their ships that they're using at this moment".

"I don't want to leave here without emphasizing - you haven't asked me yet - we are working on Russian Federation sanctions", Mnuchin told reporters during a discussion about sanctions on North Korea.

He also thanked "President Trump's strong support for inter-Korean dialogue".

The newest sanctions hope to balk North Korea's ability to conduct "evasive" maritime activities and are the newest piece of the ongoing maximum economic pressure campaign from the Trump administration.

Trump has taken a sometimes sceptical approach to a finding by USA intelligence agencies past year that Moscow meddled in the election campaign to try to tilt the 2016 vote in his favour, and has chafed at a federal investigation into Russia's role and any collusion by the Trump campaign. "The regime has less and less money to spend on its ballistic missile tests, and less capacity to threaten other countries with those tests".

Kim said he wants to boost the "warm climate of reconciliation and dialogue" with South Korea, which hosts 28,500 United States troops, after a high-level delegation, including his sister, returned from the Olympics.

"Their sources of revenue are drying up".

  • Joey Payne