US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that firms around the world must now choose between doing business with the United States or North Korea, under broad new sanctions authorized by the United States.
"Foreign financial institutions are now on notice that going forward they can choose to do business with the United States or with North Korea, but not both," Mnuchin said, after President Donald Trump allowed for possible sanctions against almost any business trading with North Korea.
While the United States has previously placed sanctions on non-Korean firms for ties to the country's weapons programs, the new authority means firms across the construction, energy, financial services, fishing, information technology, manufacturing, medical, mining, textiles, or transportation sectors could be targeted.
Mnuchin said that no specific firms have yet been targeted but that an assessment would be made on a "rolling basis."
Days after threatening to "totally destroy North Korea" in his first address to the General Assembly, Trump signed an executive order targeting foreign companies doing business with the country, ratcheting up pressure on Pyongyang.
Washington and its allies hope the tough economic sanctions will sway Pyongyang to come to the table and negotiate an end to its nuclear and missile programs.