North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.(Reuters)
The US slapped fresh sanctions today on several North Korean entities and officials as well as two Russian companies trading with Pyongyang, adding more economic pressure on the isolated regime over its nuclear weapons push. The sanctions, which seek to lock the entities and individuals out of the international financial system, took aim at government units and companies that earn much-needed foreign exchange for North Korea and sell oil to the country.
“The United States will continue to target individuals and entities responsible for financing and supporting North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs,” said John Smith, director of the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. “Treasury is working with our allies to counter networks that enable North Korea’s destabilizing activities, and we urge our partners to take parallel steps to cut off their funding sources.”
Today’s announcement listed Moscow-based Ardis-Bearings LLC and its director, Igor Aleksandrovich Michurin, for business they do with North Korean firm Korea Tangun Trading Corporation.
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Tangun was placed on the sanctions blacklist in 2009 for its involvement in North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction and missile programs, the Treasury said.
Another Russian firm, the Independent Petroleum Company, has a contract to sell oil to North Korea and “may have” worked to help the country circumvent sanctions, it said.
Also named were North Korean coal and zinc exporters, a Beijing-based North Korean banker, and an intelligence official who had operated under cover in Europe.
The sanctions ban any US entity or person from doing business with those on the blacklist and freeze any assets those sanctions might have in US jurisdictions.