Donald Trump announces fresh sanctions on North Korea and urges Theresa May ‘to increase pressure’

Donald Trump has announced that further sanctions will be placed on North Korea as it continues its missile testing – a day after he asked Theresa May to increase pressure on the rogue regime.

Mr Trump said on Thursday, shortly before a United Nations summit with Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, and Moon Jae-in, president of South Korea, that he was issuing an executive order against the North.

“I am announcing a new executive order to sign that significantly expands authorities to target individuals, companies, financial institutions that finance and facilitate trade with North Korea,” he said.

Mr Trump said he would expand authorities’ powers to go after individuals, companies and banks involved in trade with North Korea, amid heightened tensions as that country continues ramping up its missile testing.

He also announced that China’s central bank has ordered the country’s banks to curb trade with Pyongyang, a move which would cut a vital source of foreign currency for the regime.

“Foreign banks will face a clear choice: do business with the United States or facilitate trade with the lawless regime in North Korea,” he said.

“The regime can no longer count on others to facilitate its trade and banking activities.”

On Wednesday afternoon he met Mrs May, and the White House later issued a statement detailing the meeting, saying: “President Trump asked the United Kingdom to increase pressure on North Korea to denuclearise.”

Donald Trump, speaking at the United Nations on Tuesday

Britain has fully supported US efforts to sanction Kim Jong-un’s regime through the UN, and it was not clear what increased pressure he was aiming to obtain.

The UN security council unanimously approved stringent sanctions on North Korea on September 11, targeting the country’s last remaining major export by fully banning the export of textiles, and preventing overseas workers from earning wages that finance the government. The sanctions also reduced about 30 per cent of oil provided to North Korea, and banned all joint ventures, to cut off foreign investments.

The previous month, on August 5, the security council agreed to sanctions cutting by a third Pyongyang’s $3 billion annual export revenue by banning coal, iron, lead and seafood. 

The UN sanctions have stopped short, so far, of a full ban on oil imports – something the US wanted, but which was blocked by Russia and China.

The executive order announced by Mr Trump, of financial steps to unilaterally…

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