Treasury announces ‘largest-ever’ sanctions against North Korea

Feb. 23 (UPI) — The U.S. Treasury on Friday announced the largest North Korean-related sanctions to date aimed at disrupting the regime’s shipping and trading companies.

The sanctions by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control target one individual, 27 entities and 28 vessels located, registered or flagged in North Korea, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Marshall Islands, Tanzania, Panama and Comoros, the Treasury said in a statement.

“[We are] aggressively targeting all illicit avenues used by North Korea to evade sanctions, including taking decisive action to block the vessels, shipping companies, and entities across the globe that work on North Korea’s behalf,” Treasury chief Steven Mnuchin said. “This will significantly hinder the Kim regime’s capacity to conduct evasive maritime activities that facilitate illicit coal and fuel transports, and erode its abilities to ship goods through international waters.”

In its announcement, the Treasury released images which it says depicts “deceptive” North Korean practices.

“North Korea is known to employ deceptive shipping practices including, but not limited to, falsifying and concealing information displayed on North Korean vessels and conducting ship-to-ship transfers,” the department said.

President Donald Trump addressed the new sanctions Friday while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference near Washington, D.C.

“We imposed the heaviest sanctions today ever imposed on a country before,” Trump said at CPAC. “Hopefully something positive can happen.”

“The president has made it clear to companies worldwide that if they choose to help fund North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, they will not do business with the United States,” Mnuchin added.

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

Ivanka Trump said the United States is committed to putting “maximum pressure” against the North Korean regime.

“I thank you for hosting us all here tonight as we reaffirm our bonds of friendship, of cooperation, of partnership and reaffirm our commitment to our maximum pressure campaign to ensure that the Korean Peninsula is denuclearized,” she said.

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