President Trump is now targeting North Korea’s trade partners in an effort to stymie the rogue regime’s bad behavior.
This Thursday, he signed an executive order that gives the Treasury Department authority to target any “individual or entity” that carries out trade in “goods, services, or technology” with North Korea.” This includes the power to sanction foreign banks.
The order follows Trump’s first meeting with the UN General Assembly, and it was announced just before a lunch with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Since then, North Korean Leader Kim Jung Un has declared that a rocket to the U.S. is “inevitable.” Trump has responded by declaring that North Korea will “disappear.” Trump then a put additional travel restrictions on North Korea.
“North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile development is a grave threat to peace and security in our world,” said Trump. “And it is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal rogue regime…Foreign banks will face a clear choice. Do business with the United States or facilitate trade with the lawless regime in North Korea.”
According to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the order gives the Treasury Department the authority to suspend US account access to foreign banks that knowingly facilitate “significant transactions tied to trade with North Korea.”
“For too long, North Korea evaded sanctions and used the international financial system to facilitate funding for its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs,” continues Mnuchin. “No bank in any country should be used to facilitate Kim Jong Un’s destructive behavior.”
The order also bans all aircraft and vessels that have visited North Korea from entering the United States for the next 180 days.
Trump says the new measure will disrupt Kim Jong Un’s ability to raise money for his nuclear weapons program. The order also shows that Trump is allowing more time for economic pressure to take a toll on North Korea after his recent warning to world leaders that he is prepared to “totally destroy” the country if necessary.
Trump praised China after news that its banks had begun to halt financial services to North Korean customers. The move follows increasing pressure from the Trump Administration for China to help isolate North Korea.
“I’m very proud to tell you that…China, their central bank has told their other banks – that’s a massive banking system – to immediately stop doing business with North Korea,” said Trump.
Editor’s note: This is a tough situation, the rhetoric continues to ratchet up. North Korea is still attempting to play hardball.