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Steve Mnuchin: New sanctions against North Korea not aimed at China

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Updated September 21, 2017 12:39 PM EDT

President Trump on Thursday said that North Korea can "no longer count on others" for its banking and trade after signing an executive order on the issue.

"For much too long, North Korea has been allowed to abuse the international finance system," he said in New York City. "Tolerance for this disgraceful practice must end now."

"This new order provides us with powerful new tools, but I want to be clear - it targets one nation and one nation only, North Korea," Trump added.

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"This regime can no longer count on others to facilitate its trade and banking activities. I must tell you this is a complete denuclearization of North Korea we are discussing."

Trump also announced that China's central bank had cut off business ties with North Korea amid rising global concern over the latter's quest for nuclear weapons.

"I am very proud to tell you as you may have heard just now that China's central bank has told other banks - it's a massive banking system - to stop doing business with North Korea," he said.

"I want to thank President Xi for the very bold move he made today," Trump added of Chinese President Xi Jinping. "It was a somewhat unexpected move and we appreciate it."

The new set of sanctions are not targeted at China, which is one of North Korea's most prominent trading partners, U.S. Treasury Secrtary Steve Mnuchin said.

"This action is directed at everyone," Mnuchin said, saying that the new rules are "in no way specifically directed at China."

Trump said his executive order would significantly expand the power U.S. authorities have to "target individuals, companies [and] financial institutions that finance and facilitate trade with North Korea.

The president announced his new executive order during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in about North Korea.

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North Korea has repeatedly conducted ballistic missile tests this year, raising fears in Asia that it will develop a nuclear weapons arsenal to threaten its neighbors with.

"The brutal North Korean regime does not respect its own citizens or the sovereignty of other nations," Trump said of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's government.

Updated September 21, 2017 12:23 PM EDT

President Trump meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

President Trump on Thursday huddled with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in about their growing troubles with North Korea, according to The Financial Express.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has repeatedly vowed his nation will acquire nuclear weapons and improved ballistic missiles for delivering them this year, raising tensions in the global community.

Trump on Tuesday pledged during his first address before the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly that the U.S. will "totally destroy" North Korea if it keeps seeking the devastating arms.

"[Kim's] reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons ... threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life," he said in New York City. "[If the U.S.] is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea."

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