The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced a new set of actions Thursday aimed at increasing pressure on North Korea, including cutting off a Chinese bank that is accused of laundering money and providing financing to North Korea in violation of worldwide sanctions.
He says the U.S.is committed to cutting off all illegal funds to North Korea, which conducts 90 percent of its foreign trade through China.
For months, former US officials and experts warned that President Donald Trump's plan to rely on China to pressure North Korea into giving up its nuclear weapons was futile.
The sanctions come as the US pushes for China, North Korea's largest trading partner, to exert more pressure on Pyongyang.
Sanctions were imposed on Dalian Global Unity Shipping Co., which ships coal and steel between China and North Korea, freezing any property or assets in the US and prohibiting any USA citizen from doing business with the company.
The US Treasury Department on Thursday slapped sanctions on a Chinese bank over illicit activities in North Korea, including facilitating the production of weapons of mass destruction.
Earlier this week, the US also downgraded China's human trafficking status, putting it on par with North Korea as among the world's worst nations for human trafficking, saying Beijing failed to end its complicity in Pyongyang's export of forced labor.
The officials said Mr Trump is looking at options including tariffs on steel imports, which Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has said he is considering as part of a national security study of the United States steel industry.
Munchin calls it a "very significant" step.
The Treasury Department has designated two individuals, Sun Wei and Li Hong Ri, for establishing and running front companies for North Korean banks.
And even as Trump administration officials stressed that a stepped-up campaign of diplomacy and economic pressure remains the administration's preferred strategy, Trump is also keeping military options on the table.
"While todays actions are directed at Chinese individuals and entities, we look forward to continuing to work closely with the Government of China to stop illicit financing involving North Korea".
Beijing has repeatedly said that its influence on North Korea is limited and that it is doing all it can.
Chinese President Xi Jinping must be judicious as he chooses how to respond to Trump's actions. Dalian Global Unity, according to OFAC, transports coal and steel products between China and the North.
Amid growing tension with North Korea, the United States is increasing pressure on Chinese financial players.