Already staggering under sweeping economic and commodity sanctions, including those on urgently needed foodstuffs, North Korea is now facing moves that would cut it off from the global financial architecture, particularly through Pyongyang's ties to Beijing banks.
Rex Tillerson, US secretary of state, while not completely removing the threat of military intervention, has recently lightened his tone regarding the rogue nuclear state, suggesting making diplomatic moves to counter Pyongyang in meetings with top Chinese policymakers, according to Reuters.
Beijing has traditionally resisted prodding by Washington to increase the pressure on North Korea. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying suggested at a Tuesday news conference that there are two choices for the Korean peninsula: either it would "escalate toward conflict and potential war," according to Reuters, or, "all sides can cool down and jointly pull the Korean nuclear issue back to a path of political and diplomatic resolution."
The reclusive nation has been using small Chinese banks to keep itself afloat, and the proposed financial sanctions would seek to end those banks' access to capital markets, as well as seize the international assets of leader Kim Jong-un and members of his family.