US President Donald Trump has signed a new order that boosts sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear weapons programme.
The US treasury has been authorised to target firms and financial institutions conducting business with the North.
The president also said China’s Central Bank had instructed other Chinese banks to stop doing business with Pyongyang.
It comes less than two weeks after the UN approved new sanctions against the country over its latest nuclear test.
Tensions have risen in recent weeks over the North’s continued nuclear and ballistic missile tests, despite pressure from world powers to stop.
Announcing a new executive order on Thursday, President Trump said the measures were designed to “cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind”.
He singled out the North’s textiles, fishing, information technology and manufacturing industries.
Donald Trump vowed to “totally destroy” the North if it posed a threat to the US and its allies, in his first address as US president to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
But North Korea’s top diplomat, Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, on Thursday likened Mr Trump’s comments to “the sound of a barking dog”.
Mr Ri is set to make a speech to the UN in New York on Friday.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, is meeting Donald Trump on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly – an annual event, bringing together leaders of the UN’s 193 member states.
Earlier, Mr Moon said his country did not want the North to collapse, nor does it want an enforced reunification of the peninsular.
But he said sanctions were necessary to bring Pyongyang to the negotiating table and force it to give up its nuclear weapons programme.
The latest UN sanctions – which came after the North’s nuclear test on 3 September – restrict oil imports and ban textile exports, in an attempt to starve it of fuel and income for its weapons programmes.
In his comments on Thursday, President Trump praised China, one of North Korea’s closest trading partners, saying: “Their central bank has told their other banks, that’s a massive banking system, to immediately stop doing business with North Korea.”
Reuters earlier reported, quoting four sources, that China had instructed its banks to strictly implement the UN sanctions. However, the Chinese authorities have not yet confirmed this development.
Three days after the UN’s punitive measures were approved, Pyongyang fired off a second ballistic missile over Japan – its furthest-reaching yet.
Experts say North Korea has made surprisingly quick progress in its development of long-range missiles and nuclear weapons.
Original post: BBC News – Worldhappy wheels