Clinton dropped the bombshell after being shown around the the demilitarised zone which separates the two Koreas, where she was closely watched by Pyongyang’s soldiers.
She said the measures will target the North’s sale and purchase of arms and its importation of luxury goods, and so prevent nuclear proliferation.
“Let me stress that these measures are not directed at the people of North Korea who have suffered too long due to the misguided and malign priorities of their government,” she said.
“They are directed at the destabilising, illicit and provocative policies pursued by that government.”
A North Korean politics specialist from Tokyo’s Waseda University, Professor Toshimitsu Shigemura, said he believes the new sanctions have bite.
“Maybe Pyongyang will be upset,” he said.
“Now, to get the cash, they have to export. They are military equipments so… with the new sanctions, it’s much more difficult.”
US and South Korea are set to flex their military muscles this weekend, launching military drills off the peninsula involving thousands of troops, hundreds of warplanes and dozens of ships.
But it appears a purge of poor performers is underway in the North, with reports that Kim Jong-il’s former envoy to talks with the South, Kwon Ho-ung, has been put in front of a firing squad and shot.
“He’d tried to get a lot of aid or cash from South Korea, but he failed,” Professor Shigemura said.
Professor Shigemura says Mr Kwon also fell victim to a factional struggle between those who support Kim Jong-il’s succession plans and those who do not.
“About 1,000 officials were arrested, maybe 20 or 30 officials were executed,” he said. ABC Online