Donald Trump has signed an executive order to introduce new sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear weapons programme.
The order boosts the US Treasury’s ability to clamp down on individuals and companies that finance and facilitate trade with the reclusive state.
President Trump said the measures would “cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind”.
He added: “For much too long North Korea has been allowed to abuse the international financial system to facilitate funding for its nuclear weapons and missile programs.”
As he announced the new sanctions, the President claimed China’s central bank had ordered the country’s financial institutions to stop trade with Pyongyang.
He described the reported decision as “very bold”, adding that the North’s textiles, fishing, IT and manufacturing industries are among those that could be targeted by his executive order.
It comes as European Union ambassadors agreed draft sanctions against North Korea, including a ban on investments in the country and on EU exports of oil.
Eight new North Korean officials are also likely to be added to the EU sanctions list when the measures are discussed on 16 October.
In recent weeks, tensions have risen over nuclear and ballistic missile tests carried out by Kim Jong Un’s regime.
The dictator has promised to complete his nuclear programme in the face of strengthening sanctions and claimed his state is nearing its goal of “equilibrium” in military force with the US.
He also said the North has almost completed the building of its nuclear weapons force and called for “all-state efforts” to reach the goal and obtain a “capacity for nuclear counterattack the US cannot cope with”.
On Tuesday, Mr Trump used his first UN address to warn that the US will “totally destroy” North Korea if it is threatened by Pyongyang.
The President described Mr Kim as a “rocket man on a suicide mission for himself and his regime” – comments which were dismissed by North Korea as “the sound of a barking dog”.