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US slaps new sanctions on NK

The US on Wednesday announced new sanctions on Chinese and North Korean entities and individuals that it said support Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.

The US Treasury Department said in a statement that it is sanctioning nine entities, including two Chinese firms, 16 North Korean individuals and six North Korean vessels. It also urged China and Russia to expel North Koreans raising funds for the country’s weapons program.

“Treasury continues to systematically target individuals and entities financing the Kim regime and its weapons programs, including officials complicit in North Korean sanctions evasion schemes,” US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin (AP)
Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin (AP)

“The US government is targeting illicit actors in China, Russia, and elsewhere who are working on behalf of North Korean financial networks, and calling for their expulsion from the territories where they reside.”

The US has been tightening sanctions on North Korea to make it give up its development of nuclear weapons and missiles capable of reaching the US.

Wednesday’s sanctions come about a month after the Treasury sanctioned two North Korean officials who played key roles in developing the country’s ballistic missiles.

The move shows that the US will not ease off despite a thaw between South and North Korea over the North’s participation in the PyeongChang Olympic Games next month.

The sanctions allow the US to block assets held by the individuals or firms in the US, and prohibits US citizens from dealing with them.

The new targets include Beijing Chengxing Trading and Dandong Jinxiang Trade -- two Chinese companies the Treasury accused of exporting a combined total of more than $68 million in goods to the North in violation of US and United Nations sanctions. The firms also imported more than $19 million worth of goods from the North.

The other entities are five North Korean shipping companies, one North Korean electronics company and the North Korean Ministry of Crude Oil Industry. The six ships are owned by the shipping firms.

The sanctioned individuals include 10 representatives of the North’s Korea Ryonbong General Corp., which the Treasury described as specializing in the regime’s defense acquisition and supporting its military-related sales.

One individual was identified as an official of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, while the remaining five were listed for their links to the regime’s financial networks.

“We are sanctioning additional oil, shipping, and trading companies that continue to provide a lifeline to North Korea to fuel this regime’s nuclear ambitions and destabilizing activities,” Mnuchin said.

By Kim So-hyun (