Trump administration takes more steps to crack down on North Korea's nuclear weapons development

Key Points
  • The Treasury Department applies fresh sanctions in an effort to stifle North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.
  • It sanctions entities and individuals that it says is helping to finance or support the country's weapons development.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang July 5, 2017.

The Trump administration issued fresh sanctions Wednesday as it tries to stifle North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

The Treasury Department slapped sanctions on nine entities, 16 individuals and six vessels that it says helps to finance or support the communist dictatorship's weapons development.

Among the entities punished are two China-based trading firms which the Treasury says exported metals and other materials used for the weapons program. The administration also targets individuals who it says are officials in Pyongyang's ruling party working in China, Russia and Georgia.

"Treasury continues to systematically target individuals and entities financing the Kim regime and its weapons programs, including officials complicit in North Korean sanctions evasion schemes," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

The U.S. and international community have attempted to use an economic crackdown to curb the aggression of the Kim Jong Un regime. However, the Trump administration and other governments have cited some ongoing violations of sanctions meant to deter nuclear and missile development.

The U.S. has put particular pressure on China, Pyongyang's only major ally, to cut off the regime financially.