Seoul: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday announced new sanctions against North Korea.
The measures, which follow the sinking of a South Korean warship blamed on the communist North, are to target Pyongyang`s arms sales and purchases as well as the import of luxury goods, and seek to prevent nuclear proliferation by North Korea.
Clinton, who is currently visiting South Korea, said the sanctions would help the US to prevent proliferation, "to halt their illicit activities that help fund their weapons programmes, and to discourage further provocative actions".
She stressed that the sanctions were not aimed against the North Korean people but against the Stalinist regime`s "misguided and malign priorities".
The US and South Korean top diplomats urged Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons programme and warned that future provocations would have "serious consequences".
In the so-called two-plus-two talks, Clinton, Defence Secretary Robert Gates and their South Korean counterparts discussed the security situation on the Korean Peninsula.
A joint statement from the meeting urged North Korea to show "genuine will for denuclearisation with concrete actions", the South Korean Yonhap News agency reported.
The US dignitaries, Foreign Minister Yu Myung Hwan and Defence Minister Kim Tae Young also called on Pyongyang to acknowledge responsibility for the March sinking of a South Korean navy vessel, in which 46 South Korean sailors lost their lives. North Korea denies any involvement.
They called upon North Korea to refrain from further attacks or hostilities against South Korea underscored that there would be "serious consequences for any such irresponsible behaviour", the statement said.
Clinton and Gates visited the Demilitarised Zone which separates North and South Korea in an effort to "demonstrate our steadfast commitment", Gates said.
Following a meeting between Gates and Defence Minister Kim Tae Young Tuesday, the two countries announced a series of additional military drills, a reaction of the March sinking of the corvette Cheonan.
A four-day joint naval manoeuvre is to kick off in the Sea of Japan Sunday.
Clinton arrived from Kabul, where she participated in an international conference on Afghanistan.