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US imposes sanctions on North Korean banks, executives

The US imposed sanctions on eight North Korean banks and 26 executives on Tuesday , ratcheting up pressure on the country amid increasingly bellicose exchanges with Pyongyang over its nuclear program.

“ This further advances our strategy to fully isolate North Korea in order to achieve our broader objectives of a peaceful and denuclearized Korean peninsula , ” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

Tuesday ’ s announcement compounded economic sanctions which the United Nations unanimously imposed on North Korea after it carried out its latest nuclear weapons test early this month .

The new sanctions target North Koreans working as representatives of North Korean banks in China, Russia , Libya and the United Arab Emirates .

All property and interest of the designated companies and individuals in the US are blocked by the sanctions , effectively freezing them out of much of the global financial system .

The US targeted North Korea’ s Foreign Trade Bank and the Central Bank of the Democratic People’ s Republic of Korea as North Korean government agencies .

The Treasury ’ s Office of Foreign Assets Control , which overseas US sanctions programs, said the Foreign Trade Bank had carried out transactions on behalf of North Korea’ s weapons development program.

The new sanctions also came the same day President Donald Trump ignored pleas to tone down anti -Pyongyang rhetoric, accusing the regime of having tortured a captive US student “ beyond belief . ”

General Joe Dunford , chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, testified before lawmakers on Tuesday that for the time being the confrontation with North Korea was more political than military.

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