A number of maritime companies which have continued to support trading with the North Korean regime may soon find themselves excluded from sending vessels into U.S. waters. In an effort to ratchet up diplomatic tensions on the government headed by Kim Jong Un, the Trump Administration recently decreed the “largest ever” set of economic sanctions in support of United Nations resolutions. Recently, Vice President Pence told the news media he had anticipated meeting with representatives of the Pyongyang regime, but the discussions had not occurred.
Tough Sanctions Against Smuggling
The new measures announced by Treasury Department officials reportedly will impact some 28 maritime vessels, including several flying flags located in nations outside North Korea. The BBC reports the list names one individual and 27 business entities, including some 16 shipping companies. The stiffening of U.S. economic sanctions may reflect frustration following years of disregard for the trading prohibitions imposed on North Korea by the United Nations and the international community. Despite economic sanctions, the regime in Pyongyang has continued to develop its nuclear missile weapons program.
Ships which will no longer enjoy welcome access to West Coast ports include a number of vessels flying flags based in North Korea, as well as five from Hong Kong, two from the Peoples Republic of China, two from Taiwan, one from Panama and one from Singapore. In an effort to stymy the North Korean weapons program, the United Nations has sought to prevent the export of North Korean products to other nations and the import of 90% of fuel into North Korea. At the beginning of 2018, Kim Jong Un bragged he keeps a nuclear launch button available at all times.
West Coast Trade
Several ports along the West Coast have witnessed thriving trade during recent years. As a group, the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, and Tacoma enjoyed a sharp increase in business during 2017. In nearby Canada, the Pacific ports of Prince Rupert and Vancouver have also prospered. All of these ports frequently handle container shipping, playing a crucial role in commerce across the Pacific.
President Trump today addressed the audience attending the Conservative Political Action Conference. He mentioned the new ban against the vessels and trading companies which have violated trade restrictions involving North Korea. He hopes the measure provides the “heaviest sanctions” ever brought against the Hermit Kingdom’s disregard of weapons prohibitions.