President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the latest U.N. sanctions on North Korea are “only a very small step” and “nothing compared to what would have to happen” to deal with the country’s nuclear program, Reuters reports.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned China that if it did not follow through on the new sanctions, the United States would “put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the U.S. and international dollar system.”
The U.N. Security Council voted to increase sanctions on North Korea on Monday, banning its textile exports and capping fuel supplies, prompting a traditionally defiant threat of retaliation against the United States.
The latest sanctions were triggered by North Korea’s sixth and largest nuclear test this month. It was the ninth such resolution unanimously adopted by the 15-member Security Council over North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs since 2006.
A tougher initial U.S. draft was weakened to win the support of China, Pyongyang’s main ally and trading partner, and Russia, both of which hold U.N. veto power. Significantly, it stopped short of imposing a full embargo on oil exports to North Korea, most of which come from China, Reuters adds.
“We think it’s just another very small step, not a big deal. I don’t know if it has any impact, but certainly it was nice to get a 15-to-nothing vote, but those sanctions are nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen,” said Trump.
Asked if the President was considering other actions, including cutting off Chinese banks from the U.S. financial system, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that “all options are on the table.”
“The president has also said that he wants every country involved to step up and do more. This was a small step in that process, and we’re hoping that they’ll all take a greater role and a more active role in putting pressure on North Korea,” Sanders underscored.
Washington so far has mostly held off on new sanctions against Chinese banks and other companies doing business with North Korea, given fears of retaliation by Beijing and possibly far-reaching effects on the world economy.