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Steve Mnuchin
  Treasury Secretary Mnuchin on North Korea Sanctions  CSPAN  February 23, 2018 11:39am-12:03pm EST

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he believes because i seemed agony on his face as he describes this, that the sochi success that brought vladimir putin from epic low approval rating to incredibly high approval rating emboldened russia to invade the ukraine and annex crimea. easy writer is yvonne? i don't know. but what i do know is again doping is not a a long-term ga. it's a short-term gain. i just hope one of the powerful messages of the story, whether the doping is greater in the united states or it is occurring in in the western country or any other eastern bloc country, the day of reckoning is coming. >> thanks so much. we will take questions from the audience now. please wait until you see the mic and if you could state your name and organization. >> my name is david larkin, i'm a international sports and
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anticorruption attorney -- >> we will leave this conversation at this point to go live to the white house briefing room where treasury secretary steven mnuchin is standing on the left in the picture. you will be briefing reporters about sanctions on north korea. live live coverage here on c-sp. hello, everybody. today the treasury department is announcing the largest set of sanctions ever imposed in connection with north korea. this action targets the deceptive shipping practices that enable the kim regime to find it's dangerous weapons programs. our actions target shipping and trade companies, vessels and individuals across the world who we know are working with north
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korea's behalf, specifically are sanctioning 27 entities, 28 vessels and one individual, all involved in sanctions, evasion schemes. today's actions will significantly hinder north korea's ability to conduct evasive maritime activities that facilitate illicit coal and fuel transports, , limit the regime stability to ship goods through international waters. our actions are part of the ongoing maximum economic pressure campaign to cut off sources of revenue that this regime derives from u.n. and u.s. prohibited trades to fund its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. we are also issuing a global shipping advisory in conjunction with the coast guard and the state department to put everyone on notice of north korea's illicit maritime tactics, and
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underscore the significant sanctions risk of engaging in maritime business with north korea. we are releasing new imagery of the deceptive shipping practices used by those who aid and profit from illicit trade with north korea. the images from december 2017 reveal ship to ship transfers of fuel and other products destined to north korea in an attempt to evade sanctions. they shine a spotlight on the practices employed by the government of north korea to falsify identifying information on ships, and conceal illicit cargo. the sanctions, evasion tactics are prohibited by u.n. security council resolutions, and we are fully committed to shutting down those who engage in trade with them. through today's actions were putting companies and countries across the world on notice that
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this administration views compliance with u.s. and u.n. sanctions as a national security imperative. those who trade with north korea do so at their own peril. the united states will leverage our economic strength to enforce president trump's directive that any company that chooses to help north korea fund its nuclear and ballistic missile programs will not be allowed to do business with anyone in the united states. kim jong-un's nuclear program serves one goal, to keep it in power, even as his people starve and suffer. the united states will not sit idly by while he threatens american allies and territories. this administration is committed to full, irreversible, and permanent denuclearization of the korean peninsula. at our actions today against those who continue to fuel the visit rogue regime amplifies our
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strong resolve to achieve that end. and an average answer any questions. >> mr. secretary in recent weeks there seems a bit of thought of these between south korea and north korea and anticipation of the olympic games. there hasn't been a missile tensed, a nuclear test in recent weeks. why the sanctions and why now? and looks like it was the beginning of an opening? >> well, i'd say while we appreciate the fact that there have been test, that's not exactly a terrific standard of what we're applying. it was very clear this is been a directive that the president has issued going back to his time at the u.n. when the vice president was over in the region. he made it very clear that we are working on the sanctions, and as you know there's a a hue process that goes into preparing these sanction packages. as soon as they were ready we were prepared to release them today. >> real quick question about you mention nuclear weapons.
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two questions. we have any specific example of this being used to enhance the nuclear program? sticks cyclic examples of where they breached trade to do that? secondly, is there a linkage between a speech the president made for me last week we set will be so far ahead of everyone else in nuclear like you've never seen before, , foreign access of anyone else. was he talking about north korea? >> those are independent issues. our capabilities are obviously far surpassed the rest of the world in those capabilities. on the going to make any comments on direct, on the source of funds. but i can assure you that he is diverting money from the people of the country to support his programs. >> thank you very much. thank you for joining us. this target 27 entities, 28 vessels. give us some sort of scope or
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context, is that a small portion of the ships involved in the transfers involve? is this a larger portion? how impactful iq is going after the 27 entities for the 20 vessels? >> this is very impactful. this is virtually all the ships there using at this moment in time. we have obvious to continue to monitor and use all of our resources to monitor activities going forward and we will do new sanctions as needed going forward. this is a very, very significant action, along with i might just say the advisory at the coast guard has worked on with us that we believe are impactful. >> do you expect the ship to ship transfers to be in limine after this? >> we are going to do everything to stop the ship to ship transfers. >> using the words you just spoke we will do everything to stop ship to ship transfers. click to read the intelligence to identify them. this feels like the economic
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equivalent of a blockade. is that the next step, a military blockade to, in fact, block the ship to ship transfers if the sanctions are not effective? >> i think as a president said before we're not going to announce in advance anything we may do in the future on military actions. we are monitoring but i but i d say right now we're using the full power of the united states economically and working with our allies to cut them off economically. that's the priority of the maximum pressure campaign at the moment. [inaudible] >> again i'm not going to confirm that. what i will say is we're using all of our sanctions capabilities and we continue to do so to economically cut off illicit activities. [inaudible] >> the largest number we've ever
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done. against him as well as impactful. i would just say that this brings up the total to over 450 sanctions that we have north korea. i would say approximately half of those have been done in the last year. so we have had sanctions since 2005 under president trump's leadership we've done half of those in the last year. [inaudible] >> again an agreement any specific against chinese industry will continue look at them what i will tell. >> expect people to follow through of the obligations of the u.n. sanctions and our sanctions. >> to what extent is russia helped north korea a great sanction? >> i'm not going to make any comments specific on that other than to say that obviously
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russia and china are two countries that have traded within, and we're working actively with both of those. >> mr. secretary, what indicators were used to measure whether or not the sanctions are successful? >> we have both classified and unclassified indicators that we monitor as to the success, and i will tell you we believe that the economic sanctions are beginning to have a significant impact on their ability to fund their programs. >> the unclassified indicators that you use. >> again, in the said annette prepared to go to the difference in classified and unclassified but we will follow up. >> i follow up on steve. why not blacklist russian ships? >> again, we're prepared to blacklist russian ships to the extent there are russian ships. so let me be clear, whether russian ships, chinese ships, we don't care whose ships they are. if we have intelligence that
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people are doing things we will put sanctions on the and we will go forward with that. >> second question entirely. the time when the olympics closing ceremonies are happening on the korean peninsula. the president daughter just right in south korea. is that time in more than a coincidence or you're trying to send a coordinated message? >> first 20 sikkim ivanka trump has been briefed on this. she's been part of the team. she had dinner with president moon. they had a private discussion in advance about this occurring, and this is been an interagency process. so i think i said earlier, when the vice president went over there he announced the sanctions, were not ready at the time. had he been ready to be released we would have done this earlier and there's an extensive process, an enormous amount of work that's been done with the intel community on an interagency basis to get where we are today. in the back.
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[inaudible] in other words, what shows if it doesn't work? what next? >> i don't think will make any comments on what options are or are not in the future. we will continue as we see things that should be sanctioned. sanctioned. i can assure you we will continue to roll out new sanctions. as you know since i've been in this event an evolving process and although we don't comment on future sanctions, i can assure you have a large team, the largest ever dedicated at treasury to focus on north korea illicit activities. as there are more actions that need to be sanctioned will do that in the future. >> you said, go into more detail with iphoto. does she have the proper security clearance to have been able to know the sanctions were in brief the south korean president -- ivanka. >> she has the appropriate access to brief president moon. >> you said the greatest effect will be military or economic?
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>> again i'm not going to comment on any military issues. i am going to, that we think the economic activities are significant and the sanctions are working. >> what you think it will be military -- >> i'm not commenting one way or another. you shouldn't interpret that. >> regarding north korean people who are under sanctions and kim jong-un u.s. military chief in north korea, so many -- [inaudible] so he's coming for closing ceremonies. so what is the u.s. position on -- [inaudible] do you have anything -- >> that's for south korea to decipher on not making any comment on that. let me emphasize our actions are not against the people of north korea. our actions are against the leadership of north korea and illicit activities and our commitment to safety and
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security on the peninsula. >> can you let the united states boarding and spinach i cannot rule that out. so get under sanctions, with the consent of the state flags, there are certain rights that we end of the countries have come and not ruling anything out. >> so say to ship doesn't give you can from the north koreans ship a suspect. you didn't rule out boarding forcibly? >> again i'm looking to make any comment on what the military may or may not do. i would direct you, under the u.n. sanctions, we do have the right with the consent of the state flag. we will actively, and we expect states that as we give them information and a deep lack of bishops. i think that's also something that's very important. yes, in the back -- d flag. >> do you think the sanctions will entice north korea to have
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a change of heart? >> again, not going to spike with the change of heart will be or will be. again what i said is we deeply the sanctions work. there's no still question the e the sanctions and unified sanctions is what brought i ran to the table. we believe that the economic might of the united states and our allies cutting them off will limit their ability to continue their programs. >> what if the zone have much economic exposure in years? what can you do to pressure them further? >> as you are aware we vividly to do both primary sanctions and secondary sanctions. so if these companies are doing this is in other places in the world, and that is facilitated, we have the ability to cut off the banking system in other parts of the world. and we will look at that very seriously. [inaudible] >> argue right now actively considering any further -- under
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the patriot act of any banks and financial institutions? >> again as a matter of policy of not going to give specifics as to what we are considering and what we are not considering, but but i assure you we are reviewing information as it associates with banks that are doing illicit activities. >> last time you were here, there was supposed to be this calculator on the treasure website and the irs website. there's this turf battle between treasury and irs and omb on how to deal with regulations on the tax code. how's this roll out as going as smoothly as -- >> let me comment first of all, the calculator is on track. i think it is being released next week. it is being released next week. i think were going to give the
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president a demonstration of this. and again i just emphasize i think the rollout of the tax plan, with a very close coordination between the irs and argument treasury and the white house and the omb. i think there have been some articles about a memorandum of understanding that treasury has had for 30 years with omb. but again i assure you that mick mulvaney and i are working very closely together, and to the extent that makes sense to reconsider how things have been done over the last 30 years, we are already doing that. >> the impact the past administrations will talk about the deficit and debt have let it go to hell i believe were his words. the projections are still close to trillion dollar deficits that will be ratcheted up in the future years. the administration -- >> let me comment on that because i think that's an important issue. as we said that that has gone from 10 trillion to 2020 over the last eight years. the president is concerned about
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that. a big component of that was spent in middle east on wars as the president has talked about. the the president has been very clear that getting more money for the military was a major priority of his, and that's something that was achieved. as part of that the democrats required us to raise nonmilitary money. i think given the importance of what the president wanted to do with military, that was critical we get it done and we will be looking at the issue of budget deficits going forward. >> while we were on the subject of taxes, where is the administration of the i get like 25% rise in the gas tax that the president has suggested meetings with members of congress? >> i will tell you something that is being considered. there is no decision on that. as some of you noted in my testimony the president is focused on the idea of an internet sales tax. let me say this is not a new tax. this is most states have a sales or use tax, and the president
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wants to make sure that the states are getting the money they deserve and that they can spent on infrastructure. >> again, mr. secretary, hubley who will be in any way economically harmful to raise can make keep it on an inflation-adjusted basis as some have suggested? >> i would comment we haven't had any worrisome in the gas tax and a lot of typing is one of the things were looking it's one of the issues we haven't made any decisions. >> will he be economically harmful? >> we have done some analysis on it but it's on a preliminary basis and i think we're prepared to decide on right now. why don't we take -- yes. >> can you update on the monitoring of the china-north korea, the lifeline for north korea which is not monitored by any international organization? >> on the going to comment on specifically what ability we have to monitor things and what ability we don't, but i can assure you that we have a lot of capabilities.
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>> he quoted you suggesting 70% of benefits of tax cuts go to workers. assemblage and he's trying to get through at the tiger what's the evidence to suggest that that flow through to workers and cycling on north korea, the sanctions, you briefed him on those as well. do you expect to have strong support from australia? >> i do. i've known the prime minister for a long time. he's trying to focus on a very similar economic agenda to what we've done. he explained to me how he has lowered the corporate tax rate, the small and medium-size companies and how he is focused to do it on bigger companies. he congratulated us on our success and hopefully that will show the success for him there. we talked about this statistic in the past we believe that a major part of the burden of corporate taxes are borne by the workers. and then on north korea we had a very productive discussion on
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north korea. he is very supportive and we've encouraged him to work with us on sanctions and other areas, so very, very productive discussion. i know he is looking for to seeing the president today. .. again, i just want to emphasize, i think, you know, under section 241, we did deliver both the classified and unclassified report and as i repeatedly said, we are working on sanctions as a follow-up to that. why don't we take the last question. [inaudible] >> we will continue to look at
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election meddling. i might just add we are closely working with the fbi on giving information as it relates to the recent suit and as appropriate we will sanction individuals. i will also comment we already had comments against one of the very significant people that were on their list. [inaudible] >> didn't change anybody, thank you, everybody. [inaudible] >> again, let me just say quickly, you know, again as it relates to north korea, we are looking everybody the same, so the -- the ability that we have under north korea is not differentiated by country. we have done over 100 sanctions under our ukraine and russia abilities that we have done since the president has been in office, we will continue to look at those abilities as well as
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the authority we have been given under capsa which you know had huge bipartisan support and election meddling. thank you very much. [inaudible conversations] >> the conservative political action conference is this week in maryland, which is just outside of washington, d.c. coming up tonight at 8:00 eastern environmental protection agency administrator scott pruitt addresses the gathering and you can watch the live on our companion network c-span, again, begins at 8:00 p.m. eastern. tomorrow at cpac, devin nunes of california. that will be 3:35 p.m. eastern also live on c-span. >> c-span where history unfolds daily n1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and