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U.S. looking at additional sanctions on N. Korea: State Department

All News 03:02 June 11, 2016

WASHINGTON, June 10 (Yonhap) -- The United States is considering additional sanctions on North Korea, State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said, stressing the importance of putting pressure on Pyongyang to end its nuclear program.

"Sanctions are only as strong as they are implemented, and so we really are urging our partners in the region to implement, to the fullest extent possible, those sanctions against North Korea in the hope that they will convince the North Korean regime to address the international community's concerns about its nuclear program," Toner said at a Foreign Press Center briefing Thursday.

"And that continues to be our focus. And again, it was a topic of conversation with China last week. It continues to be a conversation that we're having with our allies and partners in the region. We're also looking at other measures we can take going forward," he said of last week's annual strategic talks with Beijing.

Toner did not elaborate what "other measures" would be.

After the North's fourth nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket launch in February, the U.S. has led the U.N. Security Council to adopt the toughest-ever sanctions on Pyongyang while adoping its own unilateral sanctions on the communist nation.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Treasury Department also designated the North as a "primary money laundering concern," a powerful sanction designed to cut off the provocative regime from the international banking system for defiantly pursuing nuclear and missile development.

The designation means banks around the world could be blacklisted if found to be doing business with Pyongyang. The measure was largely seen as targeting China as the North is believed to be conducting most transactions through the neighboring nation.

"We have seen a disturbing pattern of provocative behavior, continued tests or failed tests for some months now, that have alarmed us and alarmed all of our allies and partners in the region. And that includes, certainly, China," Toner said.

He said that China shares concern about the North's behavior, but Beijing also has concerns about instability caused by North Korea but also the possible instability or the repercussions of instability that could be caused by hard-hitting sanctions against the North.

"They are, in fact, a neighbor of North Korea, so we recognize those concerns. But we also recognize that China, as such, does have influence on North Korea and we believe can play an influential role on convincing North Korea, again, to come back to talks where it can address the international community's concerns," he said.


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