A day after President Trump declared North Korea a state sponsor of terror, the U.S. Treasury Department is slapping the tiny country with a new round of economic sanctions in an effort to disrupt its burgeoning nuclear program.
The sanctions primarily target four Chinese companies that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says “have engaged in trade with North Korea cumulatively worth hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Sanctions were also placed on six North Korean shipping and trading companies, and 20 North Korean boats. The Treasury Department also singled out Chinese national Sun Sidong and his company, Dandong Dongyuan Industrial Co., saying they traded $28 million worth of goods with North Korea, including parts associated with nuclear reactors.
On Monday, the U.S. also added the reclusive state to its very short list of states that sponsor terrorism, which also includes Iran, Syria, and Sudan. North Korea had been on the list until 2008, when the George W. Bush administration took it off after it made some concessions on its nuclear program. During the announcement, President Trump promised to levy the “the highest level” ever against North Korea.
The North Korean shipping companies were also accused of using deceptive tactics to get around previously imposed sanctions — like ship-to-ship transfers that skirt customs checks at ports.
North Korea conducted its most powerful nuclear test to date in September and claims it detonated a hydrogen bomb small enough to fit on the head of an intercontinental ballistic missile.