Trump Admin Announces NKorea Sanctions 11/21 06:22
The Trump administration is due to announce new sanctions on North Korea on
Tuesday after declaring it a state sponsor of terrorism in the latest push to
isolate the pariah nation.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Trump administration is due to announce new sanctions
on North Korea on Tuesday after declaring it a state sponsor of terrorism in
the latest push to isolate the pariah nation.
North Korea on Monday joined Iran, Sudan and Syria on the terror blacklist,
a largely symbolic step as the administration already has the authority to
impose virtually any sanctions it wants on Kim Jong Un's government over its
nuclear weapons development.
As part of its "maximum pressure" campaign, President Donald Trump said the
Treasury Department would impose more sanctions on North Korea and "related
persons" starting Tuesday, without hinting who or what would be targeted. It is
part of rolling effort to deprive Pyongyang of funds for its nuclear and
missile programs and leave it internationally isolated.
"It will be the highest level of sanctions by the time it's finished over a
two-week period," Trump said.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Monday the pressure campaign was
starting to bite in Pyongyang, which is already facing unprecedented
U.N.-mandated sanctions over its nuclear and ballistic missile tests. Tillerson
said anecdotal evidence and intelligence suggests the North is now suffering
fuel shortages, with queues at gas stations, and its revenues are down.
The United States has been applying sanctions of its own as well.
In Tokyo, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed the move, telling
reporters Japan supports the step as a way to increase pressure on North Korea.
In September, Trump opened the way for the U.S. to punish foreign companies
dealing with North Korea. He issued an executive order expanding the Treasury
Department's ability to target anyone conducting significant trade in goods,
services or technology with the North, and to ban them from interacting with
the U.S. financial system.
Bruce Klingner, senior research fellow on Northeast Asia at the conservative
Heritage Foundation, said Treasury could be preparing more designations against
North Korean entities related to the terrorism listing, or possibly Chinese or
other companies violating the September order.
A potential target would be Chinese banks that serve as North Korea's
conduit to the international system. Such a move would irk Beijing, whose help
Trump is counting on to put an economic squeeze on Pyongyang. China recently
sent its highest-level envoy to North Korea in two years to discuss the tense
state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula.
Tillerson urged China, which accounts for 90 percent of North Korea's
external trade, to take unilateral steps to cut fuel supplies to its wayward
neighbor. China, which is calling for dialogue to ease the nuclear tensions, is
reluctant to exert economic pressure that could destabilize the North.
Tillerson acknowledged a two-month pause in the North's rapid tempo of
nuclear and missile tests and said there was still hope for diplomacy. With
tougher sanctions in the offing, he warned Kim, "This is only going to get
worse until you're ready to come and talk."
The terror designation, however, is likely to exacerbate sour relations
between Washington and Pyongyang that have turned uglier with name-calling
between Trump and Kim. North Korea shows no interest in talks aimed at getting
it to give up its nukes.
North Korea has been on and off the terror list over the years. It was
designated for two decades because of its involvement in international terror
attacks in the 1980s, then taken off in 2008 to smooth the way for nuclear
talks that soon failed.