Trump to add sanctions on North Korea, but not on oil: U.S.

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 21, 2017 10:20 AM

By Steve Holland and David Brunnstrom

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday the United States will add more sanctions against North Korea, as U.S. allies have called for enforcing international sanctions as the best way to get Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons program.

The sanctions are not expected to further target oil, a senior Trump administration official told Reuters.

Tensions have risen in recent weeks over North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile tests, despite intense pressure from world powers.

"We will be putting more sanctions on North Korea," Trump said in response to a question at a meeting with Afghan president Ashraf Ghani in New York on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations.

Trump would make the announcement at lunch with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in later on Thursday, officials said.

In his address to the United Nations on Tuesday, Trump said the United States, if threatened, would "totally destroy" the country of 26 million people and mocked its leader, Kim Jong Un, as a "rocket man."

It was Trump's most direct military threat to attack North Korea and his latest expression of concern about Pyongyang’s repeated launching of ballistic missiles over Japan and underground nuclear tests.

At the United Nations on Thursday, South Korea's Moon called for the North Korean nuclear crisis to be handled so as to maintain peace on the divided Korean peninsula.

Moon told the U.N. General Assembly sanctions were needed to bring Pyongyang to the negotiating table and force it to give up its nuclear weapons, but Seoul was not seeking North Korea's collapse.

"All of our endeavors are to prevent war from breaking out and maintain peace," Moon said in his speech.

"In that respect, the situation surrounding the North Korean nuclear issue needs to be managed stably so that tensions will not become overly intensified and accidental military clashes will not destroy peace," Moon said.

Moon, who was due to meet Trump later on Thursday, quoted former U.S. President Ronald Reagan as saying: "Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means."

Moon, a former human rights activist who Tramp has accused of appeasement toward North Korea, said Seoul did not desire the collapse of North Korea and urged it to choose the path of peace.

"We will not seek unification by absorption or artificial means. If North Korea makes a decision even now to stand on the right side of history, we are ready to assist North Korea together with the international community," he said.

Moon said all countries must strictly adhere to U.N. sanctions on North Korea and impose tougher steps in the event of new provocations by Pyongyang.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will hold a news briefing at 3 p.m. (1900 GMT) that is expected to discuss the Trump administration's sanctions announcement.

U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley will brief the news media at 4:30 p.m. (2030 GMT), the White House said.

(Reporting by Steve Holland and David Brunnstrom; additional reporting by Michelle Nichols and Susan Heavey; Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Grant McCool)