Trump issues order to allow new sanctions on North Korea trade partners

By Daniel Uria and Danielle Haynes   |   Updated Sept. 21, 2017 at 3:34 PM
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Sept. 21 (UPI) -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday announced a new executive order targeting entities engaged in trade with North Korea.

Speaking to reporters in New York City at a luncheon with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump said the order "significantly expands our authority to target individual companies, and financial institutions that finance and facilitate trade with North Korea."

Under the order, the U.S. Treasury Department has the discretion to sanction any foreign bank that knowingly conducts or facilitates significant transactions tied to trade with North Korea.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin conducted a press briefing Thursday afternoon after Trump's announcement. He called "on all countries around the world to join us by cutting off all trade and financial ties to North Korea."

"No bank in any country should be used to facilitate Kim Jong Un's destructive behavior," he said. "Foreign financial institutions are now on notice that going forward they can choose to do business with the United States or with North Korea, but not both."

The executive order seeks to cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea's efforts to develop "the deadliest weapons known to human kind," following repeated missile and nuclear tests.

The president stressed that while the new order provides the United States with "powerful new tools," it only targets the Pyongyang regime.

"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 rogue regime," Trump said.

Trump said the United States will also work to identify new industries such as textiles, fishing, information technology and manufacturing for the treasury department to target with strong sanctions.

Measures to disrupt North Korean shipping and trade networks were also included in the order.

"For much too long, North Korea has been allowed to abuse the international financial system to facilitate funding for its nuclear weapons and missile program," Trump said. "Tolerance for this disgraceful practice must end now."

Trump noted that China's central bank has similarly ordered institutions in the country's banking system to immediately stop business with North Korea.

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