TESTING KIM: Trump targets North Korea weapons program with tough new sanctions

WASHINGTON, D.C., — The Trump administration on Wednesday hit North Korea with a fresh round of new sanctions targeting the rogue state’s weapons programs.

A press release issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury declares that “nine entities, 16 individuals, and six vessels” have been sanctioned in an effort to curb Pyongyang’s missile, chemical and nuclear weapons programs (https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm0257).

“Today’s sanctions target agents of the Kim regime financing or otherwise supporting North Korea’s WMD programs and other illicit businesses,” the press release states. “As a result of today’s action, any property or interests in property of the designated persons in the possession or control of U.S. persons or within the United States must be blocked, and U.S. persons are prohibited from dealing with any of the designated parties.”

The department also declared it is now targeting “illicit actors” in Russia and China it believes may have worked with North Korean financial assets, as well as oil, shipping and trading companies that do business with North Korea.

“Treasury continues to systematically target individuals and entities financing the Kim regime and its weapons programs, including officials complicit in North Korean sanctions evasion schemes,” the statement continues. “Pursuant to UN Security Council Resolutions, the U.S. government is targeting illicit actors in China, Russia, and elsewhere who are working on behalf of North Korean financial networks and calling for their expulsion from the territories where they reside. We are sanctioning additional oil, shipping, and trading companies that continue to provide a lifeline to North Korea to fuel this regime’s nuclear ambitions and destabilizing activities.”

The move follows comments by the president earlier this month in which he praised his administration’s non-military efforts.

“Sanctions and “other” pressures are beginning to have a big impact on North Korea. Soldiers are dangerously fleeing to South Korea. Rocket man now wants to talk to South Korea for first time. Perhaps that is good news, perhaps not – we will see!” Trump tweeted on January 2.

The latest sanctions come as global leaders have resorted to crippling North Korea’s economy to curb the aggression of leader Kim Jong-un’s military regime.

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