New US sanctions against N. Korea could bite

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"In the meeting, President Moon had simply pointed out that introducing the North Korean people to market economy and changing the way they think was a very effective way to change the way North Korea behaves and that the Kaesong complex did contribute to such efforts", the official said, while speaking on condition of anonymity.

Less than a month after U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law a bill that strengthened sanctions against North Korea, Russia and Iran, the U.S. Treasury Department placed 10 more entities and six individuals on its North Korea sanctions list Tuesday, accusing them of financing the regime's weapons of mass destruction.

The OFAC press release did not say when the vanadium imports happened, though China has not reported buying the sanctioned mineral from North Korea since 2015.

"The US action will not help the solution of the problem as well as the mutual trust and co-operation with China", foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a regular news briefing.

"It must be tough for the North Koreans to make sense of all the different signals from the Trump administration".

He, however, is now focusing on what he calls "maximum pressure and sanctions" on North Korea following its continued provocations.

Sanctions also covered Chinese, Singaporean and Namibian companies and a citizen of China.

"We also noted that many country leaders also said the Korean peninsula issue should be peacefully resolved and the call for dialogue, peace and de-escalation, rather than confrontation, war and mutual provocation, represents the common voice of the global community".

In May, North Korea thumbed its nose at Tillerson personally by testing a missile just after the USA secretary of state chaired a U.N. Security Council meeting at which he warned that failure to curb Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs could lead to "catastrophic consequences".

The latest United States sanctions against North Korea could have the intended effect of disrupting its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, but only over time, a USA expert said Wednesday.

The Treasury Department also sanctioned Dandong Zhicheng's director Chi Yupeng, a Chinese national accused of moving cash for North Korean interests.

China-based Dandong Rich Earth Trading allegedly supported Korea Kumsan Trading Corporation, a company that was already designated by the United Nations and U.S.as having links with North Korea's nuclear program, by purchasing vanadium ore.

Admiral Harry Harris, commander of USA forces in the Pacific, told reporters on a visit to South Korea that while a diplomatic solution to the North Korean nuclear problem is the priority, diplomacy must be backed with "credible combat power".

Another company, Mingzheng International Trading Limited, which maintains offices in Hong Kong and mainland China, was in fact a front for the Foreign Trade Bank, North Korea's main foreign exchange bank, the Treasury Department said.

Among 10 companies sanctioned, five were based in China, one in Russian Federation and two each in Singapore and Namibia.

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