US to target firms doing business with North Korea, Trump says

US President Donald Trump on Thursday paved the way for sanctions against foreign companies doing business with North Korea , a dramatic ratcheting up of pressure on the regime .
Tightening an economic noose around the Pyongyang regime , Trump said he had signed an executive order allowing sanctions against “ individuals and companies that finance and facilitate trade with North Korea . ”
The measure could force Chinese banks or Russian importers to decide between doing business with North Korea or being blacklisted by the United States .
“ Our new executive order will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea ’ s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind , ” Trump said.
Such sanctions were previously used on Iran , with many companies deciding to scrap trade with Tehran for fear of being frozen out of the US financial system .
Until now the United States has shied away from taking the same tough stance against North Korea , but the Trump administration has signaled it is not willing to accept Pyongyang ’ s continued provocations .
In 2016 , North Korea had exports worth around $ 3 billion , a vital source of revenue for the regime , according to the East - West Center.
Kim Jong- un ’ s regime is trying to marry ballistic and nuclear technology to create a missile capable of delivering a nuke to the continental United States, and may be just months away from succeeding .
On Tuesday , Trump threatened to “ totally destroy North Korea ” if the United States is forced to defend itself or its allies against Pyongyang .
Trump ’ s announcement came as other major players on the world stage announced similar measures to press North Korea .
In Brussels , diplomatic sources told AFP that the European Union had agreed to a new package of measures , including a ban on investments in North Korea and on European Union exports of oil .
Trump claimed that China ’ s central bank has ordered its banks to curb trade with North Korea .
The Chinese move, which Trump described as “ very bold” and “ unexpected , ” was not immediately confirmed by Beijing but if true could cut a vital source of foreign currency for the regime .
AFP