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USA tightens sanctions on North Korean shipping

USA tightens sanctions on North Korean shipping

The Trump administration has announced sweeping new sanctions aimed at disrupting North Korean shipping and trading companies and vessels to further isolate the Kim Jong-un regime.

The Donald Trump administration and key Asian allies are preparing to expand interceptions of ships suspected of violating sanctions on North Korea, senior USA officials said.

The sanctions are Washington's latest attempt to cut off "illicit avenues used by North Korea to evade sanctions", US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

"We are putting companies and countries across the world on notice that this administration views compliance with USA and United Nations sanctions as a national security imperative". Mnuchin told reporters that the USA has now imposed more than 450 sanctions against the North, about half of them in the past year — including "virtually all their ships that they're using at this moment in time".

"China resolutely opposes the United States side enacting unilateral sanctions and "long-armed jurisdiction" in accordance with its domestic law against Chinese entities or individuals", the ministry said.

The US is also issuing a global shipping advisory in conjunction with the Coast Guard and the State Department to put everyone on notice of North Korea's illicit maritime tactics and underscore the significant sanctions risk of engaging in maritime business with North Korea, Mnuchin said.

Mnuchin said the sanctions shine a spotlight on the practices employed by the government of North Korea to falsify identifying information on ships, and hide illicit cargo.

The American action is part of the ongoing maximum economic pressure campaign to cut off sources of revenue that the North Korean regime derives from the United Nations and U.S. prohibited trade to fund its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, he added.

The export breakdown by product comes after data on Friday showed trade with North Korea fell to the lowest level in dollar terms on records going back to June 2014.

In its latest step to heighten its economic warfare against North Korea, the USA government imposed sanctions against 27 entities and 28 vessels either registered or flagged in several countries, including North Korea, China and Singapore.

China and Russian Federation, which have blocked USA efforts at the United Nations to win approval for use of force in North Korea interdiction operations, are likely to oppose new actions if they see the United States as overstepping.

China has repeatedly said it is fully enforcing all resolutions against North Korea, despite suspicion in Washington, Seoul and Tokyo that loopholes still exist.

The administration billed it as the largest installment of North Korean economic restrictions to date as it intensifies its campaign of "maximum pressure" to get the North to give up its nuclear weapons. "She had dinner with President Moon and had a private discussion in advance about this occurring and this has been an interagency process".

The strategy includes sanctioning entities that the US believes provide oil and other financial assistance to North Korea.

Trump said she would use her presence at the end of the Olympics to emphasize the USA commitment to a "maximum pressure campaign to ensure that the Korean Peninsula is denuclearized".

Moon praised the Winter Olympics for helping to open up dialogue between the countries, which are still technically at war.


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