President Donald Trump announced Friday that the U.S. will impose the “largest ever” set of sanctions against 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,” Trump announced at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.
With help from the Department of Treasury, the Trump administration is attempting to put pressure on DPRK for its testing of ballistic and nuclear missiles, a White House official told Reuters.
“Our actions target shipping and trade companies, vessels and individuals across the world who we know are working on North Korea’s behalf, specifically we are sanctioning 27 entities, 28 vessels and one individual, all involved in sanctions, and evasion schemes,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchen told reporters Friday.
Munchen was flanked by satellite imagery from December 2017 of the illicit ship to ship transfers of fuel destined for North Korea in an attempt to evade prior sanctions. The newest sanctions hope to balk North Korea’s ability to conduct “evasive” maritime activities and are the newest piece of the ongoing maximum economic pressure campaign from the Trump administration.
“Our actions today against those who continue to fuel the visit rogue regime amplifies our strong resolve to achieve that end,” he added.
According to the secretary, the “very significant” sanctions target nearly the entire fleet of ships known to do business with North Korea, though he refused to answer if this move by his department was effectively an economic blockade.
These sanctions come after ever-mounting tensions with the DPRK and while senior advisor Ivanka Trump leads a delegation at the Winter Olympic closing ceremonies in Pyongchang, South Korea.
Ivanka Trump has since relayed a personal message from her father to South Korean President Moon Jae-in about today’s North Korea-related sanctions announcement at a small meeting at the Blue House, according to a statement from a senior administration official.
During a dinner with President Moon Thursday, Ivanka stressed the U.S.’s commitment “to our maximum pressure campaign to ensure that the Korean Peninsula is denuclearized,” echoing previous messaging from Vice President Mike Pence.
During his Thursday speech at CPAC, Pence delivered the first of the White House’s one-two punch against North Korea, which he described as “the most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet.”
“We stand up to murderous dictatorships. And we will keep standing strong until North Korea stops threatening our country, our allies or until they abandon their nuclear and ballistic missiles once and for all,” said Pence.