The Trump administration announced harsh new sanctions on North Korea today to increase pressure on Pyongyang for its illicit nuclear and ballistic missile tests.
The Treasury Department is calling the package that hit more than 50 entities the 'largest North Korea-related sanctions tranche to date.'
The new U.S. sanctions were announced while Trump's daughter, Ivanka, is visiting South Korea. She's attending the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games along with the president's press secretary.
President Donald Trump is expected to talk about the new sanctions during a mid-morning speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, and the Treasury Department will get into the details later in the day
The new U.S. sanctions will be announced while Trump's daughter, Ivanka, is visiting South Korea. She's seen here with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday
The sanctions target one person, 27 companies and 28 vessels.
'Treasury is aggressively targeting all illicit avenues used by North Korea to evade sanctions, including taking decisive action to block the vessels, shipping companies, and entities across the globe that work on North Korea´s behalf,' Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a statement.
President Donald Trump was expected to talk about the new sanctions during a mid-morning speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference. Senior administration officials detailed the sanctions on a call with reporters on Friday morning.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence had hinted at new sanctions two weeks ago during a stop in Tokyo that preceded his visit to South Korea for the Pyeongchang Olympics.
The tougher sanctions may jeopardize the latest detente between the two Koreas, illustrated by the North's participation in the Winter Olympics in the South, though, amid preparations for talks about a possible summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
In an extension of that rapprochement, the North agreed on Friday to hold working-level talks on Tuesday for the Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics on the North's side of the border village of Panmunjom.
'North Korea's participation in the Winter Olympic Games has served as an opportunity for us to engage in active discussions between the two Koreas and this has led to lowering of tensions on the peninsula and an improvement in inter-Korean relations,' Moon said.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he wants to boost the 'warm climate of reconciliation and dialogue' with South Korea, which hosts 28,500 U.S. troops, after a high-level delegation, including his sister, returned from the Olympics
The South Korean president said, 'I also believe that such developments are thanks to President Trump's strong support for inter-Korean dialogue and I would like to express my deep appreciation on this point as well.'
North Korea last year conducted dozens of missile launches and its sixth and largest nuclear test in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions as it pursues its goal of developing a nuclear-armed missile capable of reaching the United States. It defends the weapons programmes as essential to deter U.S. aggression.
But it has been more than two months since its last missile