Steve Mnuchin
Steve MnuchinReuters

The United States on Tuesday unveiled new economic sanctions targeting North Korean shipping and Chinese traders doing business with Pyongyang, AFP reported.

The measures came a day after President Donald Trump declared North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism and warned of a string of new measures against its nuclear program.

"These designations include companies that have engaged in trade with North Korea cumulatively worth hundreds of millions of dollars," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday.

"We are also sanctioning the shipping and transportation companies, and their vessels, that facilitate North Korea's trade and its deceptive maneuvers," he added.

Trump said on Monday that his announcement would be the first in a series over two weeks that would add up to a "maximum pressure campaign" against Kim Jong Un's regime.

As had been expected, the Treasury's measures make use of existing U.S. directives against North Korean trade, but expand their scope to take in more companies and individuals.

Most importantly, it expands the list of Chinese firms accused of doing business with the North despite promises from Beijing that it will honor UN-backed international measures.

According to Mnuchin, the sanctions would not only increase Pyongyang's isolation but also expose "its evasive tactics."

In all, the new measures add one individual, 13 trading entities and 20 ships to U.S. sanctions lists.

Any property or assets of the firms involved that is found to be in areas under U.S. jurisdiction is to be frozen, and Americans are banned from trading with them.

Three Chinese firms -- Dandong Kehua Economy and Trade, Dandong Xianghe Trading Company and Dandong Hongda Trade -- are said to have sold computers, minerals and ore to North Korea.

Chinese businessman Sun Sidong and his company Dandong Dongyuan Industrial are accused of exporting vehicles, machinery, radio navigation and "items associated with nuclear reactors."

The Treasury also added the Korea South-South Cooperation Corporation to its sanctions list. The firm is alleged to have sent North Korea guest workers to China, Russia, Cambodia and Poland. Foreign workers are a major source of income to the regime.

There have been increased tensions between the United States and North Korea in recent months, as Pyongyang continues to conduct nuclear and ballistic missile tests in defiance of UN sanctions.

Visiting Seoul last week, Trump warned North Korea he was prepared to use the full range of U.S. military power to stop any attack, but also urged Pyongyang to “make a deal.”

Last week, the president said that the "twisted dictatorship" in North Korea cannot blackmail the world, adding that the goal is to "denuclearize" North Korea and stressing the U.S. has made clear "all options remain on the table."