More sanctions on North Korea

More sanctions on North Korea

More sanctions on North Korea

The administration on Friday also targeted 16 North Korean shipping companies and 19 of their vessels.

"The North Korean shipping industry is a primary means by which North Korea evades sanctions to fund its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs".

Highlighting one potentially far-reaching step, a senior administration official said governments around the world have already been warned they could face sanctions for "significant transactions" with the Russian military.

Trump was speaking at a news conference Friday alongside Australia's prime minister.

President Trump did not rule out a nuclear attack against North Korea Friday, vowing to take it to "phase two" if the most recent round of sanctions prove ineffective.

Administration officials involved in work on sanctions have said the process is slow-moving for legal reasons and can not be accelerated purely because of negative media coverage.

The sanctions freeze any United States assets and ban USA businesses and people from any dealings with the targets. The actions block assets held by the firms and individuals in the United States and prohibit US citizens from dealing with them.

According to Treasury, North Korea has been using a number of deceptive practices to evade worldwide prohibitions on trade, including physically altering vessel identification, falsifying cargo and vessel documents, disabling and manipulation collision avoidance systems and orchestrating ship-to-ship transfers outside of ports. They're located, registered or flagged in countries all over the world, including North Korea, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Marshall Islands, Tanzania, Panama and Comoros. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the sanctions would prevent Pyongyang from carrying out "evasive maritime activities that facilitate illicit coal and fuel transports and erode its abilities to ship goods through global waters".

"Those who trade with North Korea", Mnuchin said, "do so at their own peril".

Kim Yong Chol now heads the United Front Department, the North's office responsible for handling inter-Korean affairs.

The first official offered an optimistic view of the success of sanctions so far, despite reports that China and others have helped North Korea avoid them.

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It has been several months since North Korea conducted the latest test.

One person, 27 companies and 28 vessels have been sanctioned, according to the Treasury Department.

"The only thing missing here today is action against Chinese banks", he said.

The measures are set to be announced just as the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, arrives in South Korea.

Last year, North Korea carried out dozens of missile launches as well as its sixth and most powerful nuclear test. It defends the weapons programmes as essential to deter U.S. aggression.

He said close cooperation between the United States and South Korea is important for the talks.

In an extension of that rapprochement, the North has agreed to hold working-level talks on Tuesday for the Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics on the North's side of the border village of Panmunjom.

While the United Nations Security Council has issued resolutions against North Korea's fuel trade, Pyongyang has found ways to circumvent the sanctions in place by engaging in "UN-prohibited ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products".

A third official noted that the United Nations sanctions cap North Korean imports of refined oil.

Friday's sanctions announcement is a continuation of the Trump administration's "campaign of maximum pressure" against the North Korean regime.

North Korea athletes joined with those from the South during the games in a sign of easing tensions. His delegation will attend the closing ceremony and also meet Moon. Its continued illicit ship-to-ship oil transfers, the official said, represent an effort to "make up that difference".

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