The Trump administration is considering imposing sanctions aimed at cutting North Korea off from the global financial system, a senior U.S. official told Reuters on Monday.
According to the official, the sanctions would be part of a multi-pronged approach of increased economic and diplomatic pressure, especially on Chinese banks and firms that do the most business with North Korea, plus beefed-up defenses by the United States and its South Korean and Japanese allies.
While the long-standing option of pre-emptive military strikes against North Korea is not off the table, the new administration is giving priority for now to less-risky options, according to the officials.
The policy recommendations being assembled by President Donald Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, are expected to reach the president's desk within weeks, possibly before a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in early April, the official said.
The report comes several days after after North Korea tested a powerful new rocket engine, a test hailed by Kim as a "new birth" for the nation's rocket industry.
The test occurred two weeks after Pyongyang fired ballistic missiles into the sea off Japan's northwest coast.
The ballistic missile test was said to have been a training exercise for a strike on American bases in Japan.
Trump said on Sunday that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, was "acting very, very badly" in wake of the rocket-engine test, which officials and experts think is part of a program aimed at building an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States.
The UN Security Council condemned North Korea following its last ballistic missile test, but those condemnations have done little to deter Pyongyang. UN sanctions have also had little effect.