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Tag: north korea sanctions

'Squid Game' Invites Americans To Binge On More Human Korea

Reprinted with permission from Responsible Statecraft

The Treasury Department's nine-page "2021 Sanctions Review" released on Monday makes vague recommendations for "calibrating sanctions to mitigate unintended economic, political, and humanitarian impact." Unfortunately, it offers few tangible policy suggestions on how to end the high humanitarian
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Chaos: Trump Tweets Reversal Of North Korea Sanctions

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

At many different points in his presidency, Donald Trump has appeared to have no idea what was actually happening in the administration he is supposed to run. And on Friday, Trump made that fact vividly clear yet again with a stunning — even for him — post on Twitter.

After the Treasury Department announced it would be levying new sanctions on shipping companies for working with North Korea, the president abruptly reversed that decision:

(In fact, the announcement was made on Thursday, not Friday.)

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, trying to explain this decision, said simply, “President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary.”

Though he’s in charge of the executive branch, this is a completely unorthodox and reckless approach to sanctions policy. If Trump had a strong opinion in the Treasury Department’s coming sanctions decision, he could have intervened earlier and avoided sending such conflicting messages. Instead, he made clear that he had no idea what was going on right under his nose in the Treasury Department through the formal sanctions process, making himself look inept and weak.

Perhaps more importantly, however, he sends the message to the rest of the world that nothing the executive branch does has any authority unless he has personally weighed in — a move which undermines the government’s ability to accomplish, well, almost anything, as well as the undercutting the rule of law.

“What?” said national security lawyer Bradley Moss in response to the tweet. “Treasury goes through their sanctions process and then at the drop of a hat you reverse it?”

CNN reporter Kaitlin Collins noted that the turnabout was “Big.”

“The sanctions were on Chinese shipping companies that the Trump administration said helped North Korea evade international sanctions,” she said. “Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said the ‘full implementation’ of those UN sanctions is ‘crucial’ to the success of North Korea denuclearizing.”

“The United States and our like-minded partners remain committed to achieving the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea and believe that the full implementation of North Korea-related UN Security Council resolutions is crucial to a successful outcome,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a press release. “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.”

John Bolton, the president’s national security adviser, had said Thursday that the sanctions were “important” and that “the maritime industry must do more to stop North Korea’s illicit shipping practices.”

Top Diplomats From U.S., Japan, South Korea To Meet On North Korea

SEOUL/BEIJING (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts in New York on Sunday to discuss responses to North Korea’s latest nuclear test, South Korea’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

The three countries are pushing for tough new U.N. Security Council sanctions on North Korea after the isolated country on Friday conducted its fifth and largest nuclear test.

The blast was in defiance of U.N. sanctions that were tightened in March.

China, the North’s chief ally, backed the March resolution but is more resistant to harsh new sanctions this time after the United States and South Korea decided to deploy a sophisticated anti-missile system in the South, which China adamantly opposes.

South Korea said Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and his counterparts Kerry and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida will meet during the annual U.N. General Assembly to discuss putting further pressure on North Korea.

The United States wants China to do more, with U.S. Defence Secretary Ash Carter last week singling out the role he said China should play in curbing its neighbor.

TESTING TIMES

North Korea has been testing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles at an unprecedented rate this year under young leader Kim Jong Un.

On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke with South Korea’s Yun by phone, expressing Beijing’s opposition to the North’s latest nuclear test but also reiterating opposition to the planned deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THADD) anti-missile system in the South, China’s foreign ministry said.

China is North Korea’s most important diplomatic and trade partner and refuses to cut the country off completely, fearing it could collapse.

Beijing’s official People’s Daily newspaper on Wednesday called the United States a troublemaker and said it has no right to lecture China about taking responsibility for reining in North Korea as tensions on the peninsula are a direct result of U.S. actions.

In a commentary, the ruling Communist Party’s official paper said the United States was pretending it had nothing to do with the North Korea issue and was putting the blame on others.

“People have reason to doubt whether Washington is willing to make the effort to push the North Korea issue in the direction of a resolution,” the paper said.

China and Russia have pushed for a resumption of six party talks on denuclearization in North Korea. The talks, which also involve Japan, South Korea and the United States, have been on hold since 2008.

Washington has said it is willing to negotiate with the North if it the country commits to denuclearization, which Pyongyang has refused to do.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will seek Cuba’s help in responding to North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs during a rare visit to Havana next week, a spokesman said.

(Editing by Lincoln Feast)

Photo: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) shakes hands with Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida (L) and South Korea’s Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se before a meeting at the Lotte New York Palace hotel in Manhattan, New York September 29, 2015. REUTERS/Darren Ornitz