WASHINGTON-- The United States will tighten the screws on individuals and entities that aid North Korea's missile and nuclear programs, including those in China, a senior administration official said Tuesday.

Susan Thornton, acting assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, told a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee that the U.S. will take further action to force the communist nation to abandon its missile and nuclear development.

"We will continue to fully exercise all of our standing sanctions authorities to choke off revenue streams to the DPRK," she said in a statement, referring to North Korea by the acronym of its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Last month the U.S. sanctioned two Chinese individuals and one Chinese entity.

"These actions all send a clear message to the international community -- if you attempt to evade sanctions and conduct business with designated North Korean entities, you will pay a price," she said. "We will step up efforts to sanction individuals and entities enabling the DPRK regime, including those in China."

The official also urged China to do more rein in its wayward ally, saying it has unique leverage over the regime.

Source: Yonhap News Agency