WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama issued an executive order on Wednesday, imposing new sanctions on North Korea, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.
The White House said the “robust new sanctions” are part of its response to North Korea’s Jan 6 nuclear test and Feb 7 ballistic missile launch.
The executive order blocks certain transactions on property belonging to the North Korean government and to the Workers’ Party of Korea.
The US Department of the Treasury on Wednesday also announced new sanctions on North Korea following Obama’s executive order. The sanctions are aimed at 17 North Korean government officials and organisations.
It also identified “20 vessels as blocked property.”
The new sanctions target North Korea’s energy, mining, financial services and transportation sectors, prohibit exports of goods, services, technology and new investment in the country.
“These actions are consistent with our longstanding commitments to apply sustained pressure on the North Korea regime,” the White House said in a press release. “The US and the global community will not tolerate North Korea’s illicit nuclear and ballistic missile activities.”
It said that the United States will continue to exert pressures on North Korea, until it finally complies with its international obligations.
China has called for caution in both word and deed from all sides to avoid an escalation in tensions on the Korean peninsula.
“China’s position on that issue is clear. We urge all sides to fulfill the requirements of the UN security council, be prudent with their words and actions, and not take any action that would worsen tensions on the Korean peninsula,” foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
He reaffirmed China’s willingness to implement the UN Security Council’s resolutions against North Korea.
Earlier this month, The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on tougher sanctions on North Korea to curb the country’s nuclear and missile programs. Security Council members also called for an early resumption of the Six-Party Talks.
The Six-Party Talks, a mechanism involving North Korea, South Korea, China, Japan, the United States and Russia, is believed to be a practical way to realise denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula. It was launched in 2003 but were stalled in December 2008. North Korea quit the talks in April 2009.
China has also proposed a “parallel-track approach” to address the issue, namely denuclearising the Korean Peninsula and replacing the Korean armistice with a peace agreement.