China angered by USA sanctions on N. Korea

25 February, 2018, 01:59 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • China slams new US sanctions ‘harming cooperation' on N. Korea

President Donald Trump is expected to address the new penalties Friday at a conservative gathering in Washington.

US experts are developing legal arguments for doing more to stop sanctions-busting vessels, citing the last UN Security Council resolution which they say opened the door by calling on states to inspect suspect ships on the high seas or in their waters.

"These actions represent the latest development in the coordinated, whole-of-government U.S. effort to disrupt, deter and dismantle North Korea's illicit maritime shipping activities that Pyongyang uses to skirt United Nations sanctions, and to fund its WMD programs and delivery systems", the official said.

While these sanctions exclusively focus on "illicit maritime activity", administration officials made it clear that they are part of the maximum pressure campaign aimed at denuclearization.

The 36-year-old businesswoman and now top aide to her father has been tasked with reaffirming USA ties with South Korea, which have been strained over how to deal with the North.

China remains North Korea's largest trading partner and sole major ally, though overall trade has fallen in recent months as the United Nations stepped up sanctions, banning imports of some major commodities and seafood in September and capping annual oil product shipments in December.

These shipping and trade companies, vessels and one individual, totaling 56 designations are located, registered or flagged in countries all over the world, including North Korea, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Marshall Islands, Tanzania, Panama and Comoros, he said.

"Mrs. Trump delivered a personal message to President Moon from President Trump about today's North Korea related sanctions announcement at a small meeting at the Blue House", the White House said.

"Through today's actions, we are putting companies and countries across the world on notice that this administration views compliance with USA and United Nations sanctions as a national security imperative".

She was hosted in Seoul by President Moon Jae-in, who has long advocated talks rather than confrontation with North Korea. It alerted industries to North Korea's "deceptive shipping practices", which includes falsifying the identity of vessels and disabling transponders that track ships' movements.

The timing of the new measures coincides with the arrival in South Korea of Trump's daughter Ivanka. "But that just was announced, and I wanted to let you know we have imposed the heaviest sanctions ever imposed", Trump said soon after the Department of Treasury announced a series of tough sanctions.

During a pre-dinner briefing with Moon, Ivanka said her visit was to "reaffirm our commitment to our maximum pressure campaign to ensure that the Korean Peninsula is denuclearized".

North Korea has been known to falsify and hide information displayed on North Korean vessels and conduct ship-to-ship transfers, now prohibited by the United Nations.

The officials said the US -led initiative, which has not been previously reported, shows Washington's increasing urgency to force North Korea into negotiations over the abandonment of its weapons programmes.


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