President Barack Obama issued an executive order to impose new sanctions on North Korea. North Korea’s fourth nuclear test and the launching of a long-range missile action, were dismissed as ‘illegal’ by the White House, BBC News online reports.
The order aims at blocking North Korean government assets in America and at prohibiting exports and US investment in North Korea.
North Korea launched a long-range rocket on February 7 and stated that it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb on January 6, defying the sanctions that have been imposed by previous UN resolutions.
Obama said that sanctions were “not aimed at the North Korean people” but at the North Korean government.
It is the first time the US has had a blanket ban on trade, as it once had with Iran and Myanmar.
The United States urged North Korea to immediately release Otto Warmbier, aged 21, arrested for trying to steal an object engraved with a message of propaganda from the hotel where was accommodated in stay in January.
US and South Korea carry out annual military exercises this month, which usually produces tensions, but this year Pyongyang threatened to launch a “preventive nuclear attack” against the Americans and South Koreans.