U.S. President Donald Trump is turning up the heat on North Korea with a signature on an executive order two days ago (Sept. 21) to sanction individuals, businesses and institutions who trade with North Korea’s “criminal rogue regime.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that under the new executive order, any person or company anywhere in the world who is caught doing business with North Korea will be subject to U.S. sanctions, and essentially cut off from the U.S. financial system. “We call on all countries around the world to join us” in imposing similar sanctions, Mnuchin said.
“For too long, North Korea has evaded sanctions and used the international financial system to facilitate funding for its weapons and mass destruction and ballistic missile programs,” he said. “No bank, in any country, should be used to facilitate Kim Jong-un’s destructive behavior.
“This new executive order will authorize Treasury to impose a range of sanctions, such as suspending U.S. correspondent account access to any foreign bank that knowingly conducts or facilitates significant transactions tied to trade with North Korea.”
The president is also likely to seek tougher sanctions from the United Nations, such as a full oil embargo and expulsion of diplomats.
Trump told reporters as he entered a joint meeting with the presidents of South Korea and Japan on Thursday that the goal of the new sanctions was to “cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind.”
The president also praised China for its “very bold move” ordering its banks to stop doing business with Pyongyang.
The move comes two days after Trump told the UN General Assembly in his debut address that if necessary, the United States would “totally destroy” North Korea.
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told CNN on Thursday, “We have tremendous military capability, along with our allies, and we practice that capability and have our forces as a high level of readiness for this problem. . . But what the president has done is directed us to integrate what we are doing diplomatically.”