Mnuchin says firms must choose between business with U.S. or N. Korea

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin unveiled a new round of US sanctions against North Korea Thursday, this time targeting banks that, he said, "enable this regime's economic activity".

European Union members also want to blacklist more North Korean individuals and entities, a move that would freeze their assets in the bloc and ban them from entering its territory.

The EU is seeking to go beyond the latest round of United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed after North Korea's sixth and most powerful nuclear test, conducted on September 3.

North Korea's International Olympic Committee member Chang Ung said last week that the Pyeongchang winter Olympics in South Korea in February will not be affected by the escalating crisis on the peninsula and North Korea will hopefully be able to send athletes.

The measure could force Chinese banks or Russian importers to decide between doing business with North Korea or being blacklisted by the United States.

Days after threatening to "totally destroy North Korea" in his first address to the General Assembly, Trump signed an executive order targeting foreign companies doing business with the country, ratcheting up pressure on Pyongyang.

North Korea complained in newly unearthed letters that US -led sanctions were depriving it's starving, suffering populace of essential aid and materials - such as ski equipment.

Last week, Chang Ung, the DPRK's IOC member, said February's winter Olympic games, being held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, would not be affected by the crisis occurring on the Korean peninsula and said he hoped the country could send some athletes to perform in the games.

The Treasury Secretary said he had a discussion with Governor Zhou Xiaochuan of the People's Bank of China prior to the announcement.

In addition, some eight new North Korean officials are likely to be added to the EU sanctions list, stopping them from travelling to the bloc and freezing any assets in European banks.