U.S. experts are developing legal arguments for doing more to stop sanctions-busting vessels, citing the last UN Security Council resolution which they say opened the door by calling on states to inspect suspect ships on the high seas or in their waters. U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim have taunted each other through the media in recent months.
"Hopefully, something positive can happen".
After all, the 11 non-Nork shipping companies caught up today in OFAC's new designations certainly knew that they were running that risk when they chose to offload cargo to North Korean vessels in mid-ocean or otherwise try to skirt sanctions on North Korea.
"I don't think we've ever had a better relationship with China than we do right now", Mr Trump said during a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. "Phase two may be a very rough thing, may be very, very unfortunate for the world".
While it might have arrived at the very end of a bellicose speech to his conservative base, President Trump at CPAC today revealed the obvious: Enjoy the Olympic truce while you have it.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the sanctions would prevent Pyongyang from carrying out "evasive maritime activities that facilitate illicit coal and fuel transports and erode its abilities to ship goods through worldwide waters".
The administration issued a global shipping advisory created to increase awareness of North Korea's attempts to hide its maritime activities and to put companies on notice that they could be subject to penalties if they trade with the regime.
North Korea has long relied on a complex and shadowy global shipping network to evade United Nations sanctions that target its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
North Korean vessels, which are prohibited under the UN Security Council. We're not dependent on commercial or political support and we do not accept any government funding.
Mnuchin said the sanctions shine a spotlight on the practices employed by the North Korean government to falsify identifying information on ships and hide illicit cargo.
With an emphasis on the overseas trade, the U.S.is blacklisting 56 vessels, shipping companies, and trade businesses that are helping North Korea skirt sanctions.
Today's actions are simply part of a series of sanctions that are created to weaken the regimes ability to conduct commerce on the high seas and apply what many have called a "python strategy" to squeeze the regime so hard that they must eventually come to the negotiating table.
Kim Yong Chol is the vice chairman of the North's ruling Workers' Party's Central Committee and was previously chief of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, a top North Korean military intelligence agency, which South Korea blamed for the sinking of its navy corvette the Cheonan.
M - The United States is imposing a fresh set of sanctions on North Korea - the "largest ever", BBC reports as President Trump saying.
The White House said Trump had asked his eldest daughter - who is also one of his top advisers - to travel to Pyeongchang to lead up a "high level delegation".
The sanctions come amid the latest détente between the two Koreas during the PyeongChang Olympics.
"Ultimately, without a major breakthrough between now and the closing ceremony, the situation before and after the Olympics is basically unchanged". "We are going to be continuing in that form".
But she did not elaborate on the details of what a "phase two" forecast by President Trump was. "I'm normally indifferent to politics, but there's definitely uneasiness that North Korea is getting away with something". US officials said the president had discussed the action with Moon ahead of the announcement in Washington.
"The Treasury is strongly attacking the illegal routes used by North Korea to escape sanctions", Mnuchin insisted, citing in particular deliveries of coal and oil.
The 36-year-old businesswoman and now top aide to her father has been tasked with reaffirming USA ties with South Korea, which have been strained over how to deal with the North.
Intelligence reports in November revealed the companies were engaged in ship-to-ship transfers of fuel oil, chemical in violation of United Nations sanctions.