The United States aims to use the new sanctions imposed on North Korea to cut off the communist regime’s remaining links to the international financial system, Reuters reported, citing a senior US Treasury official.
Speaking before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday, Daniel Glaser, assistant secretary for terrorist financing at the US Treasury Department, said the new sanctions will identity remaining financial institutions that allowed North Korea access to the global system.
President Barack Obama announced the fresh sanctions on Jan. 2 in response to the cyber attack on Sony Pictures, which he blames on Pyongyang. North Korea has denied any involvement.
Glaser said past sanctions had already discouraged “hundreds” of overseas banks, including China’s major commercial banks, from doing business with North Korea.
With the new sactions, “we could target any North Korean government agency; we could target any North Korean government official … we could apply sanctions with respect to any individual or entity who is providing them, in turn, material support,” he said.
Long-standing international sanctions have sought to push North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program, but while they have slowed the program, they have not stopped it, according to the news agency.
Although isolated, the country enjoys economic ties with China, and profits from illegal activities such as counterfeiting US$100 bills, arms sales and drug smuggling, the report said.
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