The U.S. Government has issued new sanctions in a bid to curb North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat.
The Treasury Department introduced the sanctions on Wednesday on North Korean financial and business networks in China and Russia, to cut off revenue for its nuclear and missile programs.
Sanctions have targeted North Korean and Chinese trading companies, North Korean ships and North Korea’s ministry of oil.
It also targets North Korean representatives in China and Russia who are Workers’ Party of Korea members and who have helped transfer chemicals and equipment used in weapons production.
“Treasury continues to systematically target individuals and entities financing the Kim regime and its weapons programs, including officials complicit in North Korean sanctions evasion schemes,” Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
“The U.S. government is targeting illicit actors in China, Russia, and elsewhere who are working on behalf of North Korean financial networks, and calling for their expulsion for the territories where they reside.”
Mr Mnuchin said he was also calling on Russia and China to expel anyone working in their countries on behalf of North Korea’s financial networks, in accordance with United Nation’s Security Council resolutions.
The sanctions came as the North Korea had been under mounting pressure from the Trump administration to relinquish its nuclear arms.
It followed a fiery exchange between U.S. president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un earlier this year over arsenal, renewing fears about the prospect of war.
The U.S. and international community have attempted an economic crackdown on Mr Kim’s regime, but have cited ongoing violations of sanctions designed to prevent nuclear and missile development.
It has put pressure on China in particular to cut off finances to the regime.
The U.N. Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea for a recent intercontinental ballistic missile test in December, to further limit its access to refined petroleum products and crude oil.
China has backed continued rounds of U.N. sanctions on North Korea, it remains concerned excessive pressure could cause the collapse of a country it considers a strategic ally.