US President Barack Obama has issued an executive order imposing new sanctions on North Korea, after its “illicit” nuclear test and satellite launch.
It freezes North Korean government property in America and bans US exports to, or investment in, North Korea.
The order also greatly expands powers to blacklist anyone, including non-Americans, dealing with North Korea.
The 6 January nuclear test and 7 February satellite launch were violations of existing UN sanctions.
President Obama’s order includes measures from the recently agreed UN Security Council sanctions – the toughest sanctions in decades
against North Korea. But it also contains separate sanctions passed by Congress and enacted by the president in February .
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said: “The US 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.”
Mr Obama said the sanctions “did not target the
people of North Korea” but suggested that the
country’s leadership only had itself to blame.
How much property North Korea has in the US is
unknown, and trade between the two is tiny,
but the expanded blacklist powers is a
significant stepping up of the punitive measures
available to Washington.
It is also the first time the US has had a blanket
ban on trade, as it once had with Iran and
Amid the heightened tensions, the North
sentenced an American student to 15 years hard
labour on Wednesday for “severe crimes”
against the state.
The US demanded North Korea immediately
release Otto Warmbier, 21, who was arrested
for trying to steal a propaganda sign from a
hotel while on a visit in January.
The US and South Korea are also holding their
annual military drills this month, which routinely
generate tension, but this year North Korea
threatened to launch a “pre-emptive nuclear
strike of justice” against the US and South