Trump to hit North Korea with ‘largest-ever’ sanctions

Trump to hit North Korea with ‘largest-ever’ sanctions

Washington (AFP) – US President Donald Trump will on Friday announce sanctions against 56 North Korea-linked shipping and trade entities, hailing the “largest-ever” package of sanctions on the Pyongyang regime.

Mr Trump stated: “Today I am announcing that we are launching the largest-ever set of new sanctions on the North Korean regime. The Treasury Department will soon be taking new action to further cut off sources of revenue and fuel that the regime uses to fund its nuclear program and sustain its military by targeting 56 vessels, shipping companies, and trade businesses that are assisting North Korea in evading sanctions.”

Trump’s administration is locked in a nuclear face-off with North Korea, which is trying to build up missiles that could deliver a nuke to chief cities in the United States.

China has persistently rebuffed Washington’s calls for a full oil embargo – fearing the chaotic collapse of the Pyongyang regime – but has agreed to caps agreed at the United Nations.

The latest sanctions are intended to put the squeeze on North Korea’s already precarious economy and fuel supply. The North Korean military and broader economy depend heavily on imports of coal and oil from China and Russia.

The timing of the new measures coincides with the arrival in South Korea of Trump’s daughter Ivanka.

She is attending the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics, which have taken place against the backdrop of the crisis.

The 36-year-old businesswoman and model-turned-policy-advisor has been tasked with reaffirming US ties with North Korea, which have been strained over how to deal with the North.

South Korean officials, who sit in a capital well within range of conventional North Korea artillery, have been spooked by Trump’s easy talk of military confrontation.

US officials worry, meanwhile, that North Korea is luring Moon into talks that are designed to go nowhere.

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