The United States has unilaterally widened sanctions against North Korea, a move that complements a U.N. vote to impose additional penalties on Pyongyang for illicit nuclear and weapons proliferation efforts.

The State and Treasury Departments announced sanctions against five individuals and 12 organizations on Wednesday.

Among those targeted are North Korea's Ministry of Atomic Energy Industry and the National Defense Commission.

The U.S. sanctions freeze any U.S. assets held by the entities and individuals and prohibit American organizations from doing business with them.

The coordinated U.N. and U.S. effort send a "clear message," said Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.

"The global community will not tolerate North Korea's illicit nuclear and ballistic missile activities," he said, "and there will be serious consequences until it modifies its reckless behavior," Lew said.

The action comes after North Korea conducted what it said was a nuclear test in January and a February rocket launch.

Source: Voice of America