President Trump warned North Korea on Tuesday that the sanctions imposed a day earlier on the regime by the U.N. Security Council are “nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen.”
The president’s comments are the latest tough talk against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has dramatically escalated his country’s nuclear and missile tests in recent weeks.
The Security Council on Monday voted unanimously to impose tougher economic sanctions, about a week after North Korea claimed to have conducted an underground hydrogen bomb test.
“We think it’s just another very small step -- not a big deal,” Trump said Tuesday, referring to his and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's view of the sanctions.
"I don't know if it has any impact, but certainly it was nice to get a 15-to-nothing vote. But those sanctions are nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen," he said.
The president spoke from the Oval Office where he was meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, whom Trump praised for no longer doing business with North Korea.
“We find that to be very important,” Trump said.
North Korea has apparently conducted six nuclear tests, including the Sept. 3 one, and has tested several inter-continental missiles on which a nuclear warhead could be affixed.
Earlier in the day, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs held a hearing examining North Korea and sanctions, which included calls to cut off the rogue nation’s ties to banks.
“These banks are not complying with the Security Council,” committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., said “So I would say this is where the discussion needs to go next because what is at risk is national security. And there is only one way to shut it down -- with revenues.”
The Security Council resolution did not impose the toughest-ever measures sought by the Trump administration to ban all oil imports and freeze international assets of the government and Kim.
However, it bans North Korea from importing all natural gas liquids and condensates. It also bans all textile exports and prohibits any country from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers — two key sources of hard currency for the northeast Asian nation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.