WASHINGTON: 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.
Trump will use a speech to conservatives just outside Washington to step up his campaign of “maximum pressure,” according to excerpts.
“Today I am announcing that we are launching the LARGEST-EVER set of new sanctions on the North Korean regime,” Trump was to say according to the White House.
The measures include sanctions against “56 vessels, shipping companies, and trade businesses” that Trump will accuse of “assisting North Korea in evading sanctions.”
Trump’s administration is locked in a nuclear standoff with North Korea, which is trying to develop missiles that could deliver a nuke to major cities in the United States.
The latest sanctions are designed 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.
China has steadfastly 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 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.
She was hosted in Seoul by President Moon Jae-in, who has long advocated talks rather than confrontation with North Korea.
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.—AFP