United States imposes fresh sanctions on Thursday on two Chinese shipping companies for helping North Korea evade American and international sanctions over its nuclear weapons programme.
These sanctions are a first since US President Donald Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un’s talks collapsed last month. The US Treasury Department issued an updated advisory on 67 vessels that engaged in illicit transfers of refined petroleum to North Korean tankers or exported North Korean coal.
The two companies barred were in the sanctioned were Dalian Haibo International Freight Co and Liaoning Danxing International Forwarding Co, both based in China. The move prohibits United States dealings with these designated companies and freezes any assets they have in the US.
These new measures were announced three weeks after a their failed second meeting, over conflicting demands by North Korea for relief from sanctions and from the US side for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. The US has led international efforts to press North Korea through sanctions to give up its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.
In a statement Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, “The United States and our like-minded partners remain committed to achieving the final, fully verified denuclearisation of North Korea and believe that the full implementation of North Korea-related UN Security Council resolutions is crucial to a successful outcome. Treasury will continue to enforce our sanctions, and we are making it explicitly clear that shipping companies employing deceptive tactics to mask illicit trade with North Korea expose themselves to great risk.”
It added that if the tankers were full, North Korea would have imported 3.78 million barrels, which is more than 7½ times the 500,000 barrels a year allowed under a UN resolution.