Tokyo Expresses Support to New US Sanctions Against North Korea - PM Adviser

North Korea

President Donald Trump will not say what the USA will do if sanctions on North Korea fail.

The Donald Trump administration and key Asian allies are preparing to expand interceptions of ships suspected of violating sanctions on North Korea, senior US officials said.

The US Treasury Department announced a new raft of sanctions on Friday in an attempt to target entities linked to North Korea's shipping and trade sectors.

"Today's actions will significantly hinder North Korea's ability to conduct evasive maritime activities that facilitate illicit coal and fuel transports, and limit the regime's ability to ship goods through worldwide waters", Mnuchin said.

"The President has made it clear to companies worldwide that if they choose to help fund North Korea's nuclear ambitions, they will not do business with the United States."President Donald Trump at a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference during the day said he hoped the sanctions would make a difference".

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"North Korea, we imposed today the heaviest sanctions ever imposed by our country before".

The U.S. government also issued Friday a global shipping advisory highlighting the sanctions risk to those who enable shipments of goods to and from North Korea.

While suspect ships have been intercepted before, the emerging strategy would expand the scope of such operations but stop short of imposing a total naval blockade on North Korea.

The Treasury Secretary warned that the countries who do business with North Korea will not be able to do business with the US.

Last year, North Korea conducted dozens of missile launches and its sixth and largest nuclear test in defiance of UN resolutions as it pursues its goal of developing a nuclear-armed missile capable of reaching the United States.

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"North Korea's participation in the Winter Olympic Games has served as an opportunity for us to engage in active discussions between the two Koreas and this has led to lowering of tensions on the peninsula and an improvement in inter-Korean relations", Moon said.

A senior administration official told reporters that these designations are a critical part of the US' maximum pressure campaign to diplomatically and economically isolate North Korea.

The Treasury Department published photos of a US -designated North Korean vessel, Kum Un San 3, which it said used false identifying information and conducted an illicit ship-to-ship transfer, possibly of oil, with a Panama-flagged vessel that was among the ships sanctioned Friday. She held closed-door talks earlier on Friday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

China's Foreign Ministry, in a statement to Reuters, said they did not know anything about the plan, but that in principle China believes United Nations resolutions on North Korea should be fully and thoroughly implemented.

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