“Our intention is to affect the behavior of the regime — which comes down to the behavior of the leader — and the decisions they’re making,” he added.
The new sanctions include a ban on the shipment of luxury goods to North Korea, such as yachts and racing cars.
Chinese regulators appear to have recently issued a warning shot to North Korean banks, telling them to stay within the remit of their permitted operations in China or risk penalties.
A report from South Korea’s Yonhap news agency on Tuesday cited a Beijing-based source as saying the warning had been given to four North Korean financial institutions, some of whom have been named in UN and US sanctions for aiding Pyongyang in its nuclear and missile programs. The report said the banks may have been able to save on fees and get access to preferred exchange rates through their short-term lending and remittance operations.
Clamping down on such practices would not amount to anything close to what the new UN sanctions call for.
North Korea’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper called the sanctions “an unpardonable provocation to infringe upon the dignity and sovereignty of the DPRK and bring down the socialist system chosen by its people.”
North Korea’s formal name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Fried said Washington hoped ultimately to reach a diplomatic solution with North Korea.
“We will work closely with our friends and allies in the region, and also we seek ultimately a diplomatic solution, and we hold open the possibility of a different approach should North Korea change its approach,” he said.
Beijing has joined every round of UN sanctions against North Korea although questions still remain over how closely it imposes restraints on its neighbor.
“Our sense is that the Chinese government has been looking at what’s been happening in North Korea recently as threatening the stability on the [Korean] Peninsula in a real way that implicates Chinese interests,” Cohen said. “But I think there is a real reason to believe that the Chinese are looking at the threat in a new and different way.”