Mnuchin says firms must choose between business with U.S. or N. Korea

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North Korea has launched dozens of missiles under Kim Jong Un's leadership as it accelerates a weapons program created to give it the ability to target the United States with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile.

The new sanctions came just hours after reports emerged that the Bank of China will stop doing business with North Korea, the most serious sign to date that Beijing is unwilling to accept North Korea's recent increase in missile launches and bomb tests.

"Textiles are believed to be the North's biggest source of foreign revenue following rounds of United Nations sanctions under which Beijing cut off purchases of coal, iron ore, seafood and other goods", the AP says.

China also will ban textile imports from the North, the ministry said.

China's ambassador to the USA has called on Washington to stop making continuous threats over North Korea and "do more" to build bridges of understanding and negotiation instead.

The new United Nations resolution requires exports of petroleum products to the North be limited to 500,000 barrels or 60,000 tons, from October 1 to December 31 and 2 million barrels or 240,000 tons per year starting January 1. The sale of liquefied natural gas has been banned outright and the export of refined petroleum has been reduced to two barrels per year.

Tensions have been mounting on the Korean Peninsula as Pyongyang continues its missile and nuclear tests and the U.S. and its regional allies - South Korea and Japan - are holding drills in the area.

USA officials would not confirm that.

The US and North Korean leaders Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un have been embroiled in a war of words, exchanging threats and insults.

"Trump labeled Kim a "madman" and taunted him as 'rocket man", while in a rare personal statement this week Kim lashed out, and referred to Trump as "mentally deranged" and a "dotard".

Also Thursday, Trump issued an executive order expanding the Treasury Department's ability to target anyone conducting significant trade in goods, services or technology with North Korea and to ban them from the USA financial system.

While addressing UN General Assembly, President Trump threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if forced to do so in defence of the USA or its allies. "Now is the time for the worldwide community as a whole to maximise the pressure on North Korea to take concrete actions towards the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula". Experts say North Korea also uses shell companies to skirt rules.

The US has accused Beijing of not doing enough to pressure Pyongyang into abandoning its nuclear programme.



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