Friday, February 23, 2018

Isolating Kim’s Rogue Regime

President Trump was slated to announce the largest-ever round of sanctions targeting Little Rocket Man’s regime at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference.
According to excerpts released to the media he would announce, "The Treasury Department will soon be taking new action to further cut off sources of revenue and fuel 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." 
Leaving the formal announcement to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin in a later briefing from the White House the President did say, “I do want to say it, because people have asked, North Korea, we imposed today the heaviest sanctions ever imposed on a country before. Frankly, hopefully, something positive can happen. We will see. Hopefully, something positive can happen.” 
The sanctions announced today will target 56 trade companies, merchants, and vessels that have continued to prop up the Kim Jong Un regime and its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
They will also target 27 shipping and trade companies, 28 vessels and at least one individual, from countries including China, Panama, Taiwan, Singapore, North Korea, and Tanzania. Among those targeted are companies that “have been used to engage in ship-to-ship transfers prohibited by the United Nations.
“These designations are a critical part of our maximum pressure campaign to diplomatically and economically isolate North Korea,” according to a second senior administration official adding, “The purpose of the latest sanctions is to show Kim Jong Un there is no other path for him to take except denuclearization.
In a published report from The Washington Examiner, “U.S. Coast Guard officials are also expected to issue a global shipping advisory to accompany the newest sanctions to ensure countries are aware that they will face very significant consequences for evading our sanctions.”
In the months since the Trump administration last imposed sanctions against Pyongyang, North Korea has sought to disguise its vessels by painting over their names and intentionally disabling their collision avoidance systems in order to prevent others from seeing their movements. Last week, Japanese military officials reported witnessing a ship-to-ship transfer in the East China Sea that likely violated previous sanctions, according to local media reports.
Mnuchin would not discuss whether the sanctions would ultimately be enforced by a full naval blockade of North Korea. But he noted that United Nations Security Council resolutions allow the United States to board and inspect the cargo of any vessel with the consent of the country whose flag flies on the ship.
The new actions, which come on the eve of closing ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, had been in the works for months but came "as soon as they were ready," Mnuchin said. The Trump administration has signaled the coming sanctions for weeks, including a visit by Vice President Pence to South Korea this month.
Additionally, the Treasury Department designated a Taiwanese citizen, Tsang Yung Yuan, and two companies he owns or controls for coordinating North Korean coal exports with a Russia-based North Korean broker and attempted $1 million oil deal with a Russian company sanctioned for dealing with the North.
Harry Kazianis, Director of Defense Studies at the Conservative Center for the National Interest said, “Cumulatively speaking, the sanctions imposed on North Korea in total since 2017 are some of the biggest ever imposed on a nation state.”
See the full statement by the US Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control here:  https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm0297

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