News / Asia

    Obama Introduces New Sanctions on North Korea, Targets Trade Partners

    FILE - Undated photo released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Feb. 21, 2016 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting maneuvers for attack and defense between large combined units of the Korean People's Army (KPA).
    FILE - Undated photo released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Feb. 21, 2016 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting maneuvers for attack and defense between large combined units of the Korean People's Army (KPA).
    VOA News

    U.S. President Barack Obama has signed an executive order imposing new sanctions on North Korea, in response to the authoritarian regime's latest nuclear and ballistic missile tests.  

    The executive order follows North Korea's nuclear test on January 6 and ballistic missile launch on February 7, in violation of long-standing international efforts aimed at curbing Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions. 

    White House press secretary Josh Earnest announced the president's decision Wednesday. 

    Earnest said the new unilateral sanctions will allow the U.S. to implement sanctions unanimously agreed to by the U.N. Security Council. 

    "The U.S. and the global community will not tolerate North Korea's illicit nuclear and ballistic missile activities, and we will continue to impose costs on North Korea until it comes into compliance with its international obligations," he said. 

    The sanctions are designed to freeze the assets of anyone who breaks the international blockade on North Korea, meaning even the few nations that do engage in trade with North Korea, such as China, will be discouraged from doing so. 

    FILE - Crew members are seen on the 6,700-tonne freighter Mu Du Bong in the port of Tuxpan, April 9, 2015.
    FILE - Crew members are seen on the 6,700-tonne freighter Mu Du Bong in the port of Tuxpan, April 9, 2015.

    The order also targets North Korea's human rights abuses,  allowing the U.S. Treasury Department to freeze assets of any party found to have engaged in exportation of workers from North Korea. A U.N. report found last year that Pyongyang earns as much a $2.3 billion a year from workers exported to other countries, where they are often abused and exploited. 

    The report said about 50,000 North Koreans are believed to be working overseas, earning small amounts for themselves while the employers pay a much greater amount to the North Korean government. Workers are forced to labor as long as 20 hours a day, with very few days off, according to the report. 

    Also Wednesday, the White House appealed to North Korea to pardon an American college student sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for committing crimes against the state. 

    White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday that it is "increasingly clear" that Pyongyang is using U.S. citizens as "pawns to pursue a political agenda." 

    North Korean police arrested 21-year-old Otto Warmbier as he was trying to leave the country after visiting with a tour group in January. 

    U.S. student Otto Warmbier cries at court in an undisclosed location in North Korea, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on March 16, 2016.
    U.S. student Otto Warmbier cries at court in an undisclosed location in North Korea, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on March 16, 2016.

    Warmbier, a student at the University of Virginia, appeared at a news conference in Pyongyang and admitted stealing a banner with a political slogan from an area of his hotel that was off-limits to guests. 

    Warmbier said a friend's mother offered him a used car worth $10,000 in exchange for the banner. He said she wanted to hang it in her church as a trophy. She allegedly offered Warmbier's mother $200,000 if he was caught.   

    As in all cases involving Westerners jailed in North Korea, Warmbier's confession likely was coerced and the alleged crimes exaggerated. 

    Just hours before Warmbier was sentenced, former U.S. ambassador Bill Richardson said he met with two North Korean diplomats at the United Nations in New York and appealed for the student's release. 

    Richardson has gone to North Korea several times in recent years to secure freedom for jailed Americans.

    You May Like

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Brexit's Impact on Russia Stirs Concern

    Some analysts see Brexit aiding Putin's plans to destabilize European politics; others note that an economically unstable Europe is not in Moscow's interests

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora