U.S. asks United Nations to blacklist North Korean entities for smuggling

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Trump responded by pushing for joint efforts by the USA and South Korea to apply maximum pressure on North Korea, Yoon said.

North Korean workers in China are doing their utmost to earn extra income before they are forced to return home under tough global sanctions imposed on their nation for recent nuclear tests and missile launches, a source in China with knowledge of the situation said.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have taunted each other through the media and in August Trump threatened to go beyond sanctions by bringing "fire and fury like the world has never seen".

Mnuchin said President Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump, who is visiting South Korea for the closing of the Winter Olympics, informed South Korean President Moon Jae-in about the new sanctions.

The North Korea crisis is back-and we could very well be on the brink of war in less than two months' time.

"But hopefully something positive can happen".

And coming on the heels of multiple UN Security Council resolutions, unilateral sanctions imposed by Washington, Seoul and Tokyo as well as a campaign of diplomatic isolation, North Korea is now reeling under a "maximum pressure" strategy that can only mean trouble for Kim Jong Un and his regime. With reports Pyongyang could be tapped out of foreign exchange and dollar reserves come October, today's measures could essentially push North Korea into what looks like a countrywide bankruptcy. Given long time frames involving major defense deals, they have said it was best to wait until after that date to begin taking punitive action rather than taking action retroactively.

"As if the sanctions themselves were not warning enough, there is now this stark warning to the rest of the shipping community that the U.S.is actively looking to punish those who are engaging with North Korea", said Schanzer, now the senior vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

"Kim Yong Chol is the top official regarding inter-Korean relations and he is being accepted [here] as the right person to discuss various issues like easing military tension, improving inter-Korean ties and denuclearization", Kang Seok-ho told reporters.

The measures target one individual, 27 entities and 28 vessels, located or registered in several locations: North Korea, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Marshall Islands, Tanzania, Panama and Comoros, the Treasury Department said.

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On Friday, Trump said of the new sanctions, "We imposed today the heaviest sanctions ever imposed on a country before".

The sanctions also targeted 16 North Korean shipping companies and 19 of the companies' vessels.

The Trump administration escalated pressure on North Korea Friday by slapping sanctions on scores of companies and ships accused of illicit trading with the pariah nation.

"I heard three US athletes (have) advanced to the final".

U.S. officials told the Reuters news agency that Washington had been speaking to partners in the Asia-Pacific region, such as Japan, South Korean and Singapore, over how to crack down on ships suspected of violating sanctions on the North.

She is attending the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics, which have taken place against the backdrop of the crisis.

The nine Chinese firms sanctioned include two on the Chinese mainland, namely the Shandong province-based Weihai World-Shipping Freight Agency Co.

And the US has limited leverage over numerous shipping companies involved in helping North Korea evade sanctions, warns Gary Samore, former White House Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction.

North Korea is seeking to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the US mainland. It also maintains worldwide prohibitions against port entry for many North Korean vessels.

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