Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned Friday that as an effect of newly announced sanctions, any company that does business with North Korea will not also be able to do business with the United States.
“Those who trade with North Korea do so at their own peril,” Mnuchin said at a briefing on the sanctions. “The United States will leverage our economic strength to enforce President Trump ’s directive that any company that chooses to help fund North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs will not be allowed to do business with anyone in the United States.”
The Trump administration on Friday unveiled what it is billing as the “largest ever” single package of sanctions against North Korea. The measures target Pyongyang’s ability to evade international sanctions and conduct illicit maritime activities that facilitate coal and fuel transports.
The Treasury and State departments and the U.S. Coast Guard also put out a global shipping advisory that warns of consequences for helping North Korea evade sanctions and outlines some of the steps its ships take to do so. And the administration released photos it says are evidence of North Korea using those tactics.
Mnuchin touted the sanctions and shipping advisory as a “very, very significant action.” The Friday sanctions bring the total U.S. sanctions on North Korea to 450, half of which have come in the last year, he added.
“We’re going to do everything to stop these ship-to-ship transfers,” he said.
The sanctions target 27 shipping and trade companies, 28 vessels and one individual believed to be involved in trade with North Korea.
Friday’s announcement comes as Trump’s elder daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump , lands in South Korea to lead the U.S. delegation for the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.
Asked about the timing of the sanctions with her visit — as well as in the midst of a thaw between North and South Korean relations — Mnuchin said the sanctions were announced now because that’s when they were ready.
“While we appreciate the fact that there haven’t been [recent nuclear] tests, that’s not exactly a terrific standard of what we’re applying,” Mnuchin said.
He added that Ivanka Trump was briefed on the sanctions and that she spoke with South Korean President Moon Jae-in about it during dinner.
While Friday’s sanctions target ships and companies from across the globe, none are from Russia, which has been accused of helping North Korea evade sanctions.
Mnuchin pledged that the administration would not hesitate to sanction Russian ships if there is evidence to support that step.
“We’re prepared to blacklist Russian ships to the extent there are Russian ships,” he said. “So let me be clear, whether they’re Russian ships, whether they’re Chinese ships, we don’t care whose ships they are. If we have intelligence that people are doing things, we will put sanctions on them.”