NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump ordered new sanctions on Thursday that open the door wider to blacklisting people and entities doing business with North Korea, including its shipping and trade networks, further tightening the screws on Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile program.
Trump stopped short of going after North Korea’s biggest trading partner, China, and praised its central bank for ordering Chinese banks to stop doing business with North Korea.
The additional sanctions on Pyongyang showed that Trump was giving more time for economic pressures to weigh on North Korea after warning about the possibility of military action earlier in the week in his first speech to the United Nations.
Asked ahead of a lunch meeting with the leaders of Japan and South Korea if diplomacy was still possible, Trump nodded his head and said, “Why not?”
North Korea has launched dozens of missiles under Kim Jong Un’s leadership as it accelerates a weapons program designed to give it the ability to target the United States with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile.
Resisting intensifying international pressure, Pyongyang conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test on Sept. 3, and launched numerous missiles this year, including two intercontinental ballistic missiles and two other rockets that flew over Japan.
“Today I‘m announcing a new executive order, just signed, that significantly expands our authority to target individual companies, financial institutions, that finance and facilitate trade with North Korea,” Trump told reporters.
“Our new executive order will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind.”
Trump said North Korea’s textiles, fishing, information technology, and manufacturing industries were among those the United States could target.
He said the order enhanced the U.S. Treasury Department’s authority to target those that conduct “significant trade in goods, services or technology with North Korea.”
“For much too long North Korea has been allowed to abuse the international financial system” to facilitate funding its nuclear and missile programs, Trump said.
Trump did not mention Pyongyang’s oil trade. Four sources told Reuters China’s central bank has told banks to strictly implement United Nations sanctions against North Korea.
The U.N. Security Council has unanimously imposed nine rounds of sanctions on North Korea since 2006, the…