So as the world grapples with its Herculean effort to mitigate Pyongyang's threat, exactly how much is at stake?
TWEET: The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.
To be sure, North Korea has a small impact on world trade flows, ranking as the 119th largest export economy in the world, according to MIT's Observatory of Economic Complexity. The communist nation exports just shy of $3 billion worth of goods per year, which include items like coal, petroleum and retail. The country relies heavily on imports totaling nearly $3.5 billion, MIT data show.
However, a few large economies do business with both the U.S. and North Korea. Among these countries are India, Russia, and Pakistan, all of which have strong bilateral ties to the U.S. Most importantly China,North Korea's largest trading partner, looms large in any retaliatory effort. In 2015, China accounted for approximately 85 percent of North Korea's overall trade volume, according to data from the United Nations Comtrade database.
In fact, China, India and Pakistan are North Korea's top three export destinations, MIT figures state, while the Chinese, Indians, Russians and Thais are North Korea's top importers.
Meanwhile, there's little doubt America itself could sustain a substantial economic hit. China is also one of the U.S.' largest trading partners. In 2016, the U.S. imported $462.62 billion in Chinese goods and exported $115.6 billion in goods to China, according to the International Trade Administration — an imbalance Trump has vowed to rectify one way or another.