The executive order freezes any property of the North Korean
government in the United States and prohibits exportation of goods
from the United States to North Korea.
It also allows the U.S. government to blacklist any individuals,
whether or not they are U.S. citizens, who deal with major sectors
of North Korea's economy. Experts said the measures vastly expanded
the U.S. blockade against Pyongyang.
North Korea conducted a nuclear test on Jan. 6, and a Feb. 7 rocket
launch that the United States and its allies said employed banned
ballistic missile technology. Pyongyang said it was a peaceful
"The U.S. and the global community will not tolerate North Korea's
illicit nuclear and ballistic missile activities, and we will
continue to impose costs on North Korea until it comes into
compliance with its international obligations," White House
spokesman Josh Earnest said.
Despite decades of tensions, the United States has not had a
comprehensive trade ban against North Korea of the kind enacted
against Myanmar and Iran. Americans were allowed to make limited
sales to North Korea, although in practice such trade was tiny.
U.S. officials had believed a blanket trade ban would be ineffective
without a stronger commitment from China, North Korea's largest
trading partner. But with China signing on to new U.N. sanctions
earlier this month, that obstacle has been removed, experts said.
"North Korean sanctions are finally getting serious," said Peter
Harrell, a former senior State Department official who worked on
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The new sanctions threaten to ban from the global financial system
anyone, even Europeans and Asians, who does business with broad
swaths of Pyongyang's economy, including its financial, mining and
The so-called secondary sanctions will compel banks to freeze the
assets of anyone who breaks the blockade, potentially squeezing out
North Korea's business ties in China and Myanmar.
"It's going to be very hard for North Korea to move money anywhere
in the world," said Harrell, now with the Center for a New American
(Additional reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by James Dalgleish and
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