After threatening earlier this week to completely destroy North Korea if it uses its nuclear weaponry against U.S. territory or allies, Trump told reporters he was issuing a new executive order adding more sanctions to those that the United States and allies already have imposed.
He said the measures would target North Korea’s textiles, fishing industry and shipping. In fact, sanctions against those industries are already in place, so it was not clear what was different about the additional ones.
“Do business with the United States … or the lawless regime” of North Korea, he said.
“We seek … a complete denuclearization of North Korea,” the president said. Many observers call that standard an all but impossible one, given Pyongyang’s progress to date.
Trump, on the margins of the annual United Nations General Assembly, was meeting Thursday with the presidents of Japan and South Korea, the two neighbors of North Korea with the most at stake in the showdown.
Already, the U.S. and the U.N. have imposed tough economic sanctions against North Korea that eat away at its export income, imports and revenue from workers its sends overseas. But none of those measures has curbed efforts by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to develop inter-continental missiles capable of delivering a nuclear weapon to the United States.
“I strongly support the president’s actions today,” U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said. “It is unacceptable that many Chinese companies continue to do business with North Korea, enabling its dangerous and destabilizing actions. We must tighten sanctions further on these entities, and make clear that if they continue to do business with North Korea they cannot do business with the United States. I’ve also joined with my bipartisan colleagues in introducing legislation that would accomplish this goal and I would urge the Senate to pass it as quickly as possible.”
In July, Portman and a group of bipartisan colleagues introduced legislation that would ban any entity that does business with North Korea or its enablers from using the United States financial system and to impose U.S. sanctions on all those participating in North Korean labor trafficking abuses.
The legislation, called the North Korean Enablers Accountability Act, would:
• Require President Trump to block all transactions that are property of the North Korean government, affiliates, or those that do significant business with North Korea.
• Require Trump to block any entity or financial institution implicated in any significant trade in goods or services with North Korea from the U.S. financial system. Entities include the top 10 Chinese importers of goods from North Korea.
• Require the president to prohibit any goods made with North Korean labor from entering the United States and to impose sanctions of all entities implicated in North Korean labor trafficking.
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