President Barack Obama has tightened the screws on North Korea once more with sweeping new sanctions after recent provocations by Pyongyang.
The move is meant to further isolate the country’s leadership, Reuters reports.
The executive order freezes any property of the North Korean government in the US and prohibits exports of goods from the country to North Korea.
It also allows the US government to blacklist any individuals, whether or not they are US citizens, who deal with major sectors of North Korea’s economy.
Experts said the measures vastly expanded the US blockade against Pyongyang.
North Korea conducted a nuclear test on Jan. 6, and a Feb. 7 rocket launch that the United States and its allies said employed banned ballistic missile technology.
Pyongyang said it was a peaceful satellite launch.
“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,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
Despite decades of tensions, the US has not had a comprehensive trade ban against North Korea of the kind enacted against Myanmar and Iran.
Americans were allowed to make limited sales to North Korea, although in practice such trade was tiny.
US officials have said a blanket trade ban would be ineffective without a stronger commitment from China, North Korea’s largest trading partner.
But with China signing on to new UN sanctions earlier this month, that obstacle has been removed, experts said.
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