China releases report outlining trade with North Korea

Lucy Bush
February 24, 2018

The sanctions are the latest measure to deter Kim Jong-un from developing a missile capable of reaching the United States, after a series of ballistic missile tests and a ferocious war of words between the North Korean leader and Trump previous year.

The United States on Friday announced a fresh package of sanctions on North Korea that President Donald Trump called the "largest-ever" set of punishments aimed at pressing the reclusive country to give up its nuclear and missile programs.

The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control described the move as the largest North Korea-related sanctions action yet, in the ongoing U.S. "maximum pressure campaign" to force Pyongyang to relinquish its nuclear weapons and missile programmes.

U.S. authorities issued images of allegedly falsified information on the stern of a North Korean ship, and of the same vessel transferring suspected oil from a Panama-flagged ship, in violation of global sanctions.

"We are aggressively targeting their ability to evade sanctions, while also significantly hindering the regime's ability to continue to conduct these illicit maritime activities that facilitate coal and fuel transport among others, in worldwide waters", the official said.

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The individual sanctioned by the Treasury Department is Tsang Yung Yuan, a citizen of Taiwan, who has allegedly coordinated North Korean coal exports with a Russia-based North Korean broker. And frankly, hopefully something positive can happen.

In terms of the number of entities targeted Friday, Mnuchin is probably correct about the history of sanctions on North Korea.

Nine global shipping companies and nine vessels were also added to the U.S. sanctions list: Asia Bridge 1, Hao Fan 2 and Xin Guang Hai.

It also blacklisted 16 North shipping companies and 19 of their North Korean-flagged vessels.

The sanctions, he said, "shine a spotlight on the practices employed by the government of North Korea to falsify identification information on ships and illicit cargo".

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The new actions, 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. From the start of his presidency, Trump has pushed Beijing to leverage its ties to North Korea to put pressure on the regime, and while China has taken steps to rein in its nuclear neighbor, the Trump administration feels the Chinese can do more. We'll just have to wait and see.

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.

North Korea operates a fleet of 24 tankers capable of engaging in ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products and other banned goods, Treasury said.

On December 28, Trump tweeted: "Caught RED HANDED - very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea".

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