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Fresh sanctions on Hezbollah

in MIDLE EAST/POLITICS by

The Trump administration announced today that a new session on Hizbullah will be held in Africa and the Middle East; in particular, the Treasury Department has announced that it has seen a network of companies and individuals in Lebanon, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Liberia and other countries connected to the Hezbollah financier, Adham Tabaja. Difficulties block US activities and prevent Americans from doing business with one of the people and seven companies. According to one of the officials, with this move Trump aims not only to limit the operations of the terrorist group, but also a pressure on Iran by hindering the increase in its influence in the region.

North Korea condemns latest U.S. sanctions

in ASIA/DEFENCE by

North Korea condemned the latest U.S. sanctions announced this week aimed at curbing the Nation’s development nuclear weapons. A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said the U.S. sanctions are “a manifestation of atrocious intention to throw a wet blanket over the inter-Korean exchange and cooperation and to aggravate the situation” and that the United States should stop such “anachronistic” policy towards North Korea.

On Mideast visit, US house speaker vows to confront Iran

in AMERICAS/POLITICS by

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan came to the United Arab Emirates on Thursday promising to take a harder line on Iran’s ballistic missile program and its regional proxies, and saying he was open to imposing new economic sanctions. His Emirati hosts couldn’t have been happier. “We could have given that exact same speech”, Emirati Ambassador to the U.S. Yousef al-Otaiba said. Gulf Arab nations, which view Iran as a regional menace and opposed the 2015 nuclear deal, have welcomed the hard line adopted by the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress. But there are differences lingering beneath the smiles and handshakes, including over Washington’s alliance with Qatar, which is being boycotted by the UAE and three other Arab nations.

Japan tells U.N. of North Korean tanker suspected of sanctions busting

in ASIA/ENERGY/POLITICS by

Japan has told the United Nations about a North Korean tanker spotted in the East China Sea that it suspects was engaged in a transfer of goods with another tanker in defiance of U.N. sanctions. According to a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry, the North Korean-flagged tanker “Rye Song Gang 1” – blacklisted by the United Nations last month for carrying banned cargo – was spotted by a Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force patrol plane with the Dominican-flagged tanker “Yuk Tung” tied up beside it in the East China Sea on Saturday. The two boats were lit up and some kind of activity was taking place, the Foreign Ministry said, adding that the Japanese government strongly suspected them of transferring goods in violation of the U.N. sanctions.

U.S. imposes more North Korea sanctions; urges China, Russia expulsions

in ASIA/POLITICS by

The United States announced new sanctions aimed at stopping North Korea’s nuclear weapons development and urged China and Russia to expel North Koreans raising funds for the programs. The U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on nine entities, 16 people and six North Korean ships it accused of helping the weapons programs. It said two China-based trading firms were involved in exporting millions of dollars worth of metals and other goods used in weapons production. “Treasury continues to systematically target individuals and entities financing the Kim regime and its weapons programs, including officials complicit in North Korean sanctions evasion schemes”, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

 Trump Promises ‘Major Sanctions’ in Response to North Korea ICBM Test

in AMERICAS/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

U.S. President Donald Trump says “major sanctions” will be imposed on North Korea, after Pyongyang tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that experts say is likely capable of hitting anywhere in the U.S. mainland. In a tweet Wednesday, Trump said he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the “provocative actions” of North Korea. He again vowed that the “situation will be handled,” but did not elaborate. “President Trump underscored the determination of the United States to defend ourselves and our allies from the growing threat posed by the North Korean regime,” the White House said in a statement on the call with Xi. The readout also said Trump “emphasized the need for China to use all available levers to convince North Korea to end its provocations and return to the path of denuclearization.”
North Korea on Wednesday said it tested a Hwasong-15 missile “tipped with a super-large heavy warhead which is capable of striking the whole mainland of the U.S.”

 Trump declares North Korea state sponsor of terrorism, triggers sanctions

in AMERICAS/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

President Donald Trump put North Korea back on a list of state sponsors of terrorism on Monday, a designation that allows the United States to impose more sanctions and risks inflaming tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile programs. The Republican president,  said the Treasury Department will announce additional sanctions against North Korea on Tuesday. “In addition to threatening the world by nuclear devastation, North Korea has repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism, including assassinations on foreign soil”, Trump told reporters at the White House. “This designation will impose further sanctions and penalties on North Korea and related persons and supports our maximum pressure campaign to isolate the murderous regime”,  Trump, who has often criticized his predecessors’ policies toward Pyongyang, said the designation should have been made “a long time ago”.

How North Korea evades UN sanctions

in ASIA/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

The United Nations recently passed its strongest sanctions yet against North Korea following its sixth nuclear test. But the sanctions would stop Pyongyang from developing nuclear weapons. The US government and a UN experts panel have published reports on how North Korea evades sanctions to earn the hard currency it needs: Chinese businessman Chi Yupeng allegedly used his company Dandong Zhicheng Metallic Materials to buy steel and anthracite coal from North Korea in exchange for nuclear and missile components, according to the US Treasury department. Smugglers from other countries such as China turn off their ships’ transponders when entering North Korean waters, then take North Korean goods to another country, including Russia. Almost 100,000 North Koreans work around the world, generating about 500 million dollar for Kim Jong-un’s regime, according to the US government. North Korea continues to sell arms and provide military training overseas, despite UN embargoes. It is particularly active in Africa and the Middle East. A United Nations investigation said buyers included Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Mozambique, Namibia, Syria, Uganda and Tanzania. Benin, Botswana, Mali and Zimbabwe were also investigated for their ties with North Korean companies.

Where’s the money coming from for North Korea’s nuclear programme?

in ASIA/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

Just days after the United Nations passed a resolution to impose yet more sanctions on North Korea, Pyongyang responded by saying the United States would suffer the greatest pain for its role in the ruling. North Korea start a repeated missile launches and nuclear explosions, this suggest is not yet out of fund. So where exactly is the money coming from? UN report published last year, North Korea has a lucrative trade in the sale of unreported items such as encrypted military communications equipment, air defence systems and satellite- guided missiles. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said North Korea earned 802 million dollar between 1996 and 2016 from the sale of weapons to countries such as Iran, Syria and Libya. The United States has long accused North Korea of printing counterfeit US banknotes. High quality fakes, distributed by North Korean diplomats as they travel aboard and through transactions with European countries, all with the help of Russian agents.

China says it won’t allow war or chaos on Korean peninsula after backing latest UN sanctions

in ASIA/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

China said on Tuesday it will not allow war or chaos on the Korean peninsula after it endorsed the latest UN sanctions against Pyongyang following its nuclear test last week. Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said: the resolution also reiterated the need to maintain peace and stability across the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia. Geng said “The peninsula issue must be resolved by peacefully and the military solution has no way out”. The UN sanctions are the strongest yet against Pyongyang, and also include bans on textile exports from the North, joint ventures and technology transfers, as well as efforts to stop smuggling of prohibited products. The US was pushing for tougher sanctions – including a full oil embargo, but met resistance from Russia and China, which feared that putting too much pressure on North Korea could escalate tensions. China has already imposed sanctions on Pyongyang including banning seafood imports from North Korea, and Chinese banks reportedly put a stop to transactions by North Koreans on Tuesday.

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