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(2nd LD) Trump announces new order targeting firms doing business with N. Korea

2017/09/22 02:41

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(ATTN: UPDATES with details; ADDS photo)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday he has signed a new executive order giving the Treasury Department more power to target firms and individuals doing business with North Korea.

The move paves the way for new sanctions on Pyongyang over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

"A new executive order will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea's efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind," Trump said at the start of a trilateral luncheon meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in New York.

"The order enhances the Treasury Department's authorities to target any individual or entity that conducts significant trade in goods, services or technology with North Korea," he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the start of a trilateral luncheon meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in New York on Sept. 21, 2017. (Yonhap) U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the start of a trilateral luncheon meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in New York on Sept. 21, 2017. (Yonhap)

North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3, drawing fresh U.N. Security Council sanctions, including caps on its imports of oil.

The Trump administration had pushed for a complete oil embargo but faced opposition from Russia and China, two of the five veto-wielding permanent members of the council.

Trump said those targeted under the new measures will now have to choose between doing business with the U.S. or with the North.

"It is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal rogue regime," he said. "What we will do is identify new industries including textiles, fishing, information technology and manufacturing that the Treasury Department can target with strong sanctions."

   The measures will also be designed to disrupt North Korea's shipping and trade networks, Trump added.

The announcement sends a clear signal to China, North Korea's major ally and trading partner. Beijing is responsible for 90 percent of the North's external trade and has come under growing pressure to rein in its wayward neighbor.

Trump said China's central bank had just told the country's other banks to "immediately" stop doing business with North Korea, and thanked Chinese President Xi Jinping for that "unexpected" decision.

"For much too long North Korea has been allowed to abuse the international financial system to facilitate funding for its nuclear weapons and missile programs," he said.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is scheduled to hold a press briefing later in the day to possibly address the details of the order.

hague@yna.co.kr

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