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U.S. to keep pressing N. Korea through sanctions: Treasury official

WASHINGTON (Yonhap) -- The U.S. government will keep imposing tough sanctions on North Korea in a bid to press the communist nation to adopt a policy of denuclearization, a senior Treasury official said Friday.

"What we are going to continue to do is to implement the sanctions programs that we have in place, which are focused on North Korea's efforts to develop its nuclear program, as well as North Korea's other illicit activity," David Cohen, Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said at a congressional hearing.

The North is clearly susceptible to sanctions, he added, testifying before the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Cohen is in charge of Washington's sanctions on Pyongyang for its nuclear and long-range missile tests.

The Obama administration is constantly reevaluating what it has been doing with respect to North Korea, which is a topic actively under consideration within the government, he added.

Cohen added denuclearizing North Korea is an unswerving goal of the administration.

He agreed to the importance of China's cooperation in dealing with North Korea and argued Washington has had some success in drawing Beijing's support.

The State Department also stressed China has a "special role" to play in terms of pushing North Korea to change its course.

China is on the same page with the United States in terms of needing the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Marie Harf, the department's deputy spokeswoman, said at a press briefing.