President Donald Trump has signed a new executive order that would enable the United States to sanction individual companies and institutions that finance trade with North Korea. He made the announcement Thursday during a working luncheon with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean president Moon Jae-in.
Mr Trump said the measure would also disrupt other trade avenues for North Korea in efforts to halt its nuclear weapons program. President Trump said “tolerance for this disgraceful practice must end now.”
“Our new executive order will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind,” he told reporters ahead of the luncheon meeting with the leaders of Japan and South Korea.
He said North Korea’s textiles, fishing, information technology, and manufacturing industries were among those the United States could target.
Mr Trump also saluted China’s central bank for what he said was a move to stop its banks from trading with North Korea. The Chinese move, which Trump described as “very bold” and “unexpected”, was not immediately confirmed by Beijing but if true could cut a vital source of foreign currency for the regime.
During the meeting President Moon Jae-in praised Trump’s bellicose speech on Tuesday to the United Nations about the North Korean threat, in which he said America would “totally destroy” the rogue Asian state, saying that he US had “responded in a very good way.”
Moon deemed North Korea's provocation “deplorable”, prompting Trump to compliment his word choice. His opponent during last year’s election, Hillary Clinton, took criticism for referring to Trump’s supporters as belonging in “a basket of deplorables.” Trump called it “a lucky word.”
The president also said that the US and South Korea were working on improving trade agreements though that was less important than addressing the North Korea threat.