"Our actions target shipping and trade companies, vessels and individuals across the world who we know are working on North Korea's behalf, specifically we are sanctioning 27 entities, 28 vessels and one individual, all involved in sanctions, and evasion schemes", Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchen told reporters Friday.
Trump's daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump, who is in Seoul, South Korea, to attend the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics as the US representative, briefed South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the sanctions, according to a senior administration official.
"This is very much a worldwide effort", one administration official said. They're located, registered or flagged in countries all over the world, including North Korea, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Marshall Islands, Tanzania, Panama and Comoros.
In the same action, the Treasury Department issued a global shipping advisory about North Korea's "deceptive" shipping practices "to alert persons of the significant sanctions risks to those continuing to enable shipments of goods to and from North Korea". Another administration official said that the US would seek United Nations designations on the entities that were unilaterally sanctioned on Friday.
"I don't want to leave here without emphasizing - you haven't asked me yet - we are working on Russian Federation sanctions", Mnuchin told reporters during a discussion about sanctions on North Korea.
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In December, the United Nations approved US-drafted sanctions limiting North Korea's access to refined petroleum products and crude oil, which the North Korean Foreign Ministry said amounted to an act of war.
Vice President Mike Pence had reportedly planned to meet in secret with North Korean officials earlier this month while both were in South Korea for the Winter Olympics, though the North pulled out of the meeting last minute.
Administration officials have said the sanctions measure, which targets those doing business with Russian defence and intelligence sectors, went into force on January 29.
At a dinner with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Ivanka Trump reaffirmed "our commitment to our maximum pressure campaign to ensure that the Korean Peninsula is denuclearized". Some of the vessels are able to carry more than $5.5 million worth of coal at a time, according to the White House, and the regime can use coal revenues to fund its nuclear program.
Mnuchin said at least one person on the list of oligarchs close to the Kremlin had already been targeted under a separate USA sanctions program. Although South Korea is a close US ally, animosity between Washington and Pyongyang is still running high.
"After 25 years of failed bipartisan attempts to bribe the North Koreans into ending their nuclear pursuit, we realized that we have to stop the revenue streams that support it", she said in an address to the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics.