Trump Announces New Economic Sanctions on North Korea

(CN) – President Donald Trump on Thursday announced an executive order imposing new sanctions against North Korea, a response to the country’s recent nuclear and missile tests that have increased tensions in the region.

The executive order makes it easier for the Treasury Department to “target” people and institutions that do business with North Korea, Trump said on Thursday before a meeting with leaders from Japan and South Korea.

Under the new executive order, the Treasury Department will be able to “block” money that passes through North Korean accounts and into the United States as well as sanction any financial institution that “knowingly conducts or facilitates any significant transaction” on behalf of the North Korean government.

The order also opens up to sanctions any people who are involved in construction, financial services, fishing and other industries in North Korea, as well as people with ties to any North Korean ports or airports

“Foreign banks will face a clear choice: do business with the United States or facilitate trade with the lawless regime in North Korea,” Trump said before a meeting with Japanese and South Korean leaders.

Trump said the government will also look at new industries for the Treasury Department to target with “strong sanctions,” and that the order will also help disrupt North Korean “shipping and trade networks.”

The order bans ships that visited North Korea from coming to the United States for 180 days and imposes the same penalty on vessels that transferred goods to another ship that then went to North Korea.

The White House said in a fact sheet released along with the executive order that the shipping ban will cut off a key international trade avenue for North Korea.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told reporters on Thursday that the Treasury Department will process the designations on a “rolling basis,” starting with activity that occurred on the date of the order.

“As I outlined at my address to the United Nations General Assembly, North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile development is a grave threat to peace and security in our world and it is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal rouge regime,” Trump said on Thursday.

The U.N. Security Council imposed additional sanctions against North Korea earlier this month after the country conducted a nuclear test and sent a second missile over Japanese territory. Among other measures, those sanctions cut the amount of oil North Korea can import and banned the country from exporting textiles.

The promise of new sanctions comes days after Trump threatened to “totally destroy” the North Korean regime in his first speech to the United Nations, in which he also referred to the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, as “Rocket Man.”

North Korea’s foreign minister responded to the speech on Wednesday evening by comparing Trump to a barking dog. Kim said he would  “tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.”

Trump and the North Korea regime have engaged in verbal spats for more than a month, with Trump more than once responding to North Korean missile tests by threatening military action against the reclusive state.

Though Trump has in the past insisted that diplomatic solutions will not work with North Korea, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said after the Security Council approved the most recent round of sanctions that North Korea “has not yet passed the point of no return.”

“If it agrees to stop its nuclear program, it can reclaim its future,” Haley said. “If it proves it can live in peace, the world will live in peace with it. On the other hand, if North Korea continues its dangerous path, we will continue with further pressure.”

%d bloggers like this: