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Official: U.S. hopes North Korea will respond to tougher sanctions

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: U.S. measures will include publicly naming entities involved in illicit activities
  • The State Department's nonproliferation adviser is in Seoul, South Korea
  • He says new U.S. sanctions aim to stop North Korea's nuclear weapons program
  • The U.S. is also targeting members of North Korea's elite who engage in illegal trading

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) -- The U.S. hopes tougher sanctions against North Korea will pressure the country to end its nuclear weapons program, a State Department official said Monday.

Robert Einhorn, the State Department's special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, is discussing the sanctions with senior government officials in Seoul, South Korea, and Tokyo, Japan, this week.

"These measures are not directed at the North Korean people, but our objective is to put an end to [North Korea's] destabilizing proliferation activities, to halt illicit activities that help fund its nuclear missile programs and to discourage further provocative actions," Einhorn told reporters, according to a copy of his prepared remarks.

His visit comes nearly two weeks after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the tougher sanctions, which will include freezing some assets in an attempt to keep the communist dictatorship from buying and selling arms.

Einhorn said the aim of the sanctions is to go after North Korean sources of "hundreds of millions of dollars" in hard currency, including counterfeiting U.S. currency, narcotics smuggling and other illegal activities.

U.S. officials have said that the illicit sale of cigarettes, liquor and exotic food helps provide funding for North Korea's burgeoning nuclear program.

"Our new measures will allow us to designate entities and individuals involved in these activities, and to block any property or assets they possess that are under the control of a U.S. person or bank," Einhorn said.

Publicly naming the organizations, companies and individuals involved also could have a broader effect of isolating them from the international financial system, he said.

"We have seen on prior occasions how powerfully the private sector reacts to U.S. actions that expose the entities that facilitate those illicit activities," added Daniel Glaser, a deputy assistant treasury secretary.

The United States also aims to crack down on diplomatic privileges, which have facilitated the illegal trading.

Einhorn said he also discussed toughened sanctions against Iran in his meetings with South Korean officials.

Tension has increased on the Korean peninsula since March, when a South Korean warship sank, killing 46 sailors.

A multinational investigation found that a North Korean torpedo attack caused the sinking. North Korea has denied any connection and said it is the victim of an international conspiracy.