U.S. Slaps New Sanctions Against North Korea

Showing its full support of South Korea and its commitment to maintaining peace in the Korean Peninsula, the United States has announced that it would be imposing new sanctions against the hermitic North Korea.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made the announcement on Wednesday during a visit to the demilitarize zone separating the two Koreas. The new sanctions will strengthen existing restrictions in a bid to pressure Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program and as punishment for its aggressive stance towards Seoul.

The sanctions include new restrictions against weapons trade and the entry of luxury goods to the impoverished country. The sanctions follow the announcement by both US and South Korean officials of a scheduled large-scale military exercise aimed at thwarting any future hostile actions by North Korea similar to the torpedoing of the Cheonan. The sinking of the South Korean warship and the death of 46 crewmembers earlier this month has been blamed on North Korea, which denies any involvement in the incident.

Details of the sanctions are still being finalized, but it is clear that the U.S. wants North Korea to reopen talks about its nuclear program. Clinton, who was accompanied by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in touring the DMZ, said US President Barack Obama’s administration is trying to send a clear message to the North. Clinton said that unless Pyongyang changes direction, the U.S. will stand “firmly on behalf of the people and government of the Republic of Korea, where we provide a stalwart defense along with our allies and partners.”