Japan and Australia on Tuesday slapped fresh sanctions on North Korea, triggering protests from China that the move would further fuel the standoff over Pyongyang's weapons programs.
The sanctions, which comply with a UN Security Council resolution that denounced North Korea's test firing of long-range missiles in July, ban fund transfers and remittances to 11 Pyongyang-based trading companies accused of bankrolling the country's weapons arsenal. They took effect immediately.
"We have repeatedly used dialogue and pressure ... to achieve a peaceful resolution, but North Korea has not responded," Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said late Tuesday.
Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said earlier Tuesday the sanctions were consistent with the country's "strong international stand against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."
The coordinated effort is meant to pressure North Korea to return to the six-party talks on its nuclear ambitions, which have stalled since November 2005.