'Totally' possible for USA to address North Korea threat alone - FT

The Trump administration issued sanctions Friday against a North Korean business and 11 North Korean nationals who it said were tied to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program and the financial networks that support it.

North Korea must be stopped on its path toward being able to threaten the United States with nuclear attack, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis says, as the USA imposes more sanctions on North Koreans for their links to the country's weapons programs.

"Today's action targets North Korean nationals working as agents of the regime in Russia, China, Vietnam, and Cuba to provide financial support or weapons of mass destruction procurement services for United Nations or USA -designated sanctioned entities", the Treasury Department said in a statement.

The North also denounced ongoing military drills involving American hardware and troops in South Korea. But analysts agree that North Korea is determined to make progress on its nuclear and missile programs.

"These sanctions underscore this administration's commitment to countering the threat to the United States, to our allies, and to stability on the Korean peninsula and in the wider Asia Pacific region posed by the Kim regime in Pyongyang, and I urge our partners and allies to take similar measures to cut off its funding", he said. But the Treasury said Paeksol continues to export coal through "front companies" in the northeastern Chinese city of Dalian.

Added to these tensions, April is an important month on the North Korean calendar - the regime celebrates the anniversary of founding president Kim Il Sung's birthday on April 15 - and North Korea has a habit of timing provocative actions with key dates.

The government added it is strengthening cooperation with the US and other countries to deliver swift punitive measures if North Korea wages another provocation.

Last year, North Korea carried out two nuclear tests and over two dozen of test launches using ballistic missile technology.

Under the sanctions, any property within the USA held by a blacklisted person is frozen, and Americans are banned from doing any business with them.

  • Arturo Norris