North Korea Update


Celeste Chavez and Polly Parakul

On Thursday, September 21, President Donald Trump signed an executive order granting power to the Treasury Department to establish sanctions on North Korea in order to limit their foreign interactions with companies in Northeast Asia. According to David Nakamura from the Washington Post, “Trump said the new powers aim to cut off international trade and financing that dictator Kim Jong Un’s regime uses to support its nuclear and ballistic missile weapons programs” (Washington Post). This action will allow Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to target any foreign banks conducting transactions tied to North Korea. Trump also stated that Chinese banks are prohibited from conducting business with North Korea–an act which he praised. The President said that it is the United States’ duty to seek a “complete denuclearization of North Korea,” because their nuclear program is a “threat to peace and security in our world.” Kim Jong Un has responded defensively, stating, “I will make the man holding the prerogative of the supreme command in the U.S. pay dearly for his speech,” according to the official Korean Central News Agency. He notes that Trump will face “results beyond his expectations,” after his actions toward North Korea.

   In lighter news, according to Jere Longman of the New York Times, North Korean figure skater partners Ryom Tae-Ok (18) and Kim Ju-sik (25) recently completed their best performance of their career. This significant performance led the pair to become the first athletes from their remote nation to qualify for the Winter Olympics in South Korea, taking place in 2018. The International Olympic Committee has announced their hope for North Korea’s participation which will potentially better relations between the two Koreas amidst tensions.