Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has prepared an executive order that would allow President Donald Trump to sanction any country that continues to trade with North Korea if the United Nations doesn't pass broad new sanctions under consideration, he said Wednesday.
"I have an executive order prepared that's ready to go to the President that would authorize me to stop doing trade, put sanctions on anybody that does trade with North Korea, and the President will consider that at the appropriate time once he gives the UN time to act," Mnuchin said while speaking with reporters on Air Force One.
Earlier Wednesday, the US proposed a resolution at the UN that would include broad new sanctions on North Korea and freeze the assets of leader Kim Jong Un in the wake of global concern over the rogue nation's nuclear weapons tests.
"We believe we need to economically cut off North Korea while they do this action," Mnuchin said. "If we don't get those additional sanctions at the UN," Trump will consider the already-drafted executive action, he added.
On Sunday, North Korea announced it had successfully conducted its sixth weapon test, which according to readings of the tremors appeared to be the most powerful weapon Pyongyang has tested.
The UN approved sanctions on the country less than a month ago, but Mnuchin said Wednesday that additional sanctions are crucial.
Following the latest test, Mnuchin told Fox News Sunday that he was planning to work up the sanctions executive order and recommend it to Trump.
"I am going to draft a sanctions package to send to the President for his strong consideration that anybody that wants to do trade or business with them would be prevented from doing trade or business with us," Mnuchin said at the time. "People need to cut off North Korea economically. This is unacceptable behavior."
Also on Sunday, Trump mentioned the possibility of "stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea."
And though Defense Secretary James Mattis warned of a "massive military response" to any additional threats against the United States or its allies, Trump said Wednesday that military action in North Korea is not his "first choice" after a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping.