WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump vowed to impose additional “major sanctions” against North Korea on Wednesday in response to its latest groundbreaking missile test.
“Just spoke to President XI JINPING of China concerning the provocative actions of North Korea,” Trump tweeted.
“Additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today. This situation will be handled!”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson explained that the sanctions would be announced by the US Treasury and would target “additional financial institutions.”
This suggests that secondary measures could target foreign banks that still deal with North Korea. A Chinese bank has already been hit in this way.
“We have a long list of additional potential sanctions,” Tillerson told reporters.
Asked how long Washington could continue to mount peaceful pressure on Pyongyang without resorting to military action, Tillerson said: “Diplomatically, we keep working at it every day.”
During his call with Xi, the White House said Trump urged Beijing to use “all available levers” to press North Korea.
On Tuesday, Pyongyang fired what is believed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting Washington.
The US president has threatened North Korea with “fire and fury” if it continues to threaten the United States or its allies with work toward an ICBM capable of carrying a nuclear payload.
The latest test came after a more than two-month pause, which had prompted speculation that talks could end the nuclear standoff.
Since coming to office, Trump has ratcheted up the diplomatic and economic pressure on the regime of Kim Jong-Un, demanding he abandon nuclear and ballistic weapons.
As part of that effort, Trump has repeatedly pressed China to break trade ties with its dependent neighbour and has applauded countries for shuttering Pyongyang’s diplomatic installations, which have long been used to gather illicit finance.
Earlier this month, Trump declared North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism — a symbolic move, but one which amps up diplomatic pressure on the regime.
The UN Security Council is expected to hold an emergency meeting later Wednesday to discuss the response to Pyongyang’s latest test.