The United States is seeking to impose direct sanctions on a dozen Chinese banks that do business with North Korea, in a bid to tighten the screw on Pyongyang.
Ed Royce, Chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, says a list with the targeted Chinese entities has been handed over to the U.S. government, adding that it's time to impose the strongest pressure following the regime's nuclear test.
The list is said to name twelve banks, including the country's largest financial institution, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China and China Merchants Bank.
Sources say Washington is currently reviewing the option of having North Korea return to the negotiation table as it did in 2005, when it froze North Korean assets at Banco Delta Asia in Macau.
In the face of increasing calls for a so-called secondary boycott, or sanctions directly targeting Beijing, especially as the latest UN Security Council resolution failed to include an oil embargo on the North, China has toughened its rhetoric against the regime.
While Beijing has stated it "strongly opposes" North Korea's repeated provocations, the Chinese ambassador to the UN said that Beijing "condemns" North Korea.
Noting the shift in stance, pundits say the remarks reflect Beijing's changing opinion of the North's nuclear threat.
Meanwhile, North Korea responded to the fresh UN sanctions on Thursday, with its Asia Pacific Peace Committee, an organization linked to the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, describing them as useless.
Insisting the North Korean people are not afraid of sanctions, the committee stressed it only resorts to its nuclear program for self-defense.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.