State Department officials said today that the United States is considering its own financial sanctions on North Korea above and beyond what might happen at the United Nations.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters that U.S. action "within the banking sector certainly did get North Korea's attention previously, and if we can find ways that we can do that, we will do so."
The sanctions would be in response to Pyongyang's recent nuclear test and its experimentation with long-range missiles.
Crowley told reporters that the goal of sanctions would be to force North Korea to return to the stalled nuclear disarmament talks. "That's our ultimate objective, and we will continue to use whatever levers that we see available and we think will be effective."
The State Department spokesman had little information on the fate of Euna Lee and Laura Ling, two American journalists held for trial in North Korea's top court on allegations they entered the country illegally and engaged in "hostile acts." The North's official news agency said the proceedings were to begin Thursday but no further details were available on Friday.
There is no independent confirmation that the trial of Laura Ling and Euna Lee was going on, Crowley said. He said the women had North Korean defense lawyers.