Obama imposes more North Korea sanctions
WASHINGTON — President Obama has signed a new executive order ratcheting up sanctions on North Korea in retaliation for its nuclear and ballistic missile tests.
“The order is not targeted at the people of North Korea, but rather is aimed at the Government of North Korea and its activities that threaten the United States and others,” Obama said in a message to Congress.
The order targets North Koreans who work in the mining, energy, transportation or banking industries, who help acquire nuclear or missile components or software, who are engaged in human rights abuses or human trafficking, or who are involved in hacking, censorship or sanctions evasion.
The Treasury Department immediately applied those sanctions to 17 government officials and organizations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, including the Workers’ Party of Korea Propaganda and Agitation Department, and blocked 20 vessels that have done business with North Korea from entering U.S. ports, carrying U.S. cargo or being sold for U.S. dollars.
Obama signed the executive order Tuesday, but its existence wasn’t disclosed until Wednesday afternoon, more than 15 hours after it went into effect.
The White House said the order was in response to North Korea’s nuclear test on Jan. 6, and its ballistic missile test Feb. 7. The executive order implements sanctions adopted by the United Nations Security Council and Congress, which passed the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act last month.
The North Korean state news agency claimed another breakthrough in missile technology, saying it had developed “heat-resisting materials for rocket with their own efforts and technology after having made painstaking researches of years under the direct guidance of supreme leader Kim Jong Un.”
The sanctions also come as the White House also demanded the immediate release of a U.S. college student sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly taking down a propaganda poster.
“These actions are consistent with our longstanding commitment to apply sustained pressure on the North Korean regime. The U.S. and the global community will not tolerate North Korea’s illicit nuclear and ballistic missile activities, and we will continue to impose costs on North Korea until it comes into compliance with its international obligations,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.
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