Trump reiterated that threat earlier this month, after Pyongyang launched a ballistic missile test as a "gift" for the "American bastards" on US Independence Day, July 4.
President Trump and administration officials have grown increasingly irritated that China has not done more to rein in North Korea's nuclear and missiles programs, despite public pressure from the U.S.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang responded to the possible sanctions by reiterating the country's commitment to enforcing United Nations resolutions, adding that unilateral sanctions were outside the framework of this commitment. But even before the test - which Washington and Seoul labeled "destabilizing and unlawful" - Americans and many people in the Asia-Pacific region held negative views of North Korea and its nuclear weapons program. Although Trump's irritation seems to have cooled after meeting Xi on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit three days later - he tweeted they'd had an "excellent" meeting on trade and North Korea - his ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, is pushing for a new round of sanctions that may include further restrictions on Chinese trade with North Korea.
The analysis by 38 North, a Washington-based North Korean monitoring project, was based on satellite images of the radiochemical laboratory at the Yongbyon nuclear plant from September until the end of June, amid rising global concerns over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.
The North Korean leader had ordered North Korean factories to "make sure the packaging was the same" for products for export and for domestic consumption, RFA's source said.
MJ Kim Getty Images
The North also carried out its first successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile this month. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, North Korea attempted to reach out to the United States, but President Carter flat out denied the olive branch.
Voice of America reported Friday a new model of Mercedes-Benz was seen in one of the images of Kim during the most recent missile launch on the Fourth of July. North Korean media said the Hwasong-14 missile was capable of striking the "heart of the United States". Most provocatively, in areas close to the Philippines, China has constructed man-made islands that serve as military airbases. If China were to rule North Korea, we would no longer face an unstable leader who has nuclear bombs.
Reflecting growing concern about North Korea on Capitol Hill, two members of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, Democrat Chris Van Hollen and Republican Pat Toomey, announced on Wednesday they would soon introduce legislation for North Korea modeled on the Iran secondary sanctions laws passed by Congress.
As the matter came before the UNSC and after talking to US Permanent Representative Nikki Haley, Mr Trump tweeted: "Trade between China and North Korea grew nearly 40 per cent in the first quarter".
While preparations for fresh sanctions are moving forward, tangible new steps by China could prompt Washington to put the measures on hold, the US sources said. This country is on the way to becoming a nuclear power.
Professor Park Jong Cheol of Gyeongsang National University told Daily NK that, "China agreed to every UNSC resolution adopted after North Korea's fourth and fifth nuclear tests. For example, bilateral trade with China can be part of our response". "UN Security Council sanctions are not a total ban on shipments". He said notable wars included Japan's invasion of Korea in the Ming dynasty, when the Chinese emperor sent tens of thousands of troops to assist Korea, and two invasions by the Manchuria-based Qing dynasty in 1627 and 1636, when Korea was under the then collapsing Ming dynasty.