President Trump Announces New US Sanctions on North Korea

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe walks to his seat at a luncheon with President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, in New York. From left, Vice President Mike Pence, Abe, Trump, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe walks to his seat at a luncheon with President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, in New York. From left, Vice President Mike Pence, Abe, Trump, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe walks to his seat at a luncheon with President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, in New York. From left, Vice President Mike Pence, Abe, Trump, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Just a short while ago, President Trump, flanked by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Vice President Mike Pence, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced a new round of sanctions directed at North Korea. The venue was a luncheon with the prime ministers of Japan and South Korea

President Trump announced an executive order Thursday to grant additional authority to the Treasury Department to enforce economic sanctions on North Korea and foreign companies and individuals that do business with the rogue nation in Northeast Asia.

The president also said that Chinese President Xi Jinping had ordered Chinese banks to cease conducting business with North Korean entities. Trump called the move “very bold” and “somewhat unexpected,” and he praised Xi.

“North Korea’s nuclear program is a grave threat to peace and security in our world, and it is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal, rogue regime,” Trump said in brief public remarks during a meeting with the leaders of South Korea and Japan to discuss strategy to confront Pyongyang over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

He added that the United States continues to seek a “complete denuclearization of North Korea.”

Trump said the United States had been working on the North Korea problem for 25 years, but he asserted that previous administrations had “done nothing, which is why we are in the problem we are in today.”

He added that the order will give Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin the “discretion to target any foreign bank knowingly facilitating specific transactions tied to trade with North Korea.”

These are the key takeaways.
1. The administration is acknowledging that it has gotten all that it will get from the UN Security Council.
2. The administration realizes that trade embargoes are weak sauce but with the UN sanctions in place it can strike at the money involved in evading sanctions.
3. These sanctions were prepared before Trump’s speech on Tuesday.
4. These sanctions were coordinated, at some level, with the Chinese and obviously supported by Japan and South Korea.
5. North Korea is facing the most concerted diplomatic/economic response to its adventurism since 1950. It many not be sufficient to stop North Korea’s nuclear program but it is sufficient to say that peaceful means were given every chance to work before moving on to Plan B.