U.S. sanctions people, firms, ships for aiding North Korean arms industry: Treasury

Jan 25, 2018, 01:39
U.S. sanctions people, firms, ships for aiding North Korean arms industry: Treasury

The U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on nine entities, 16 people and six North Korean ships it accused of helping the weapons programs.

Sanctions target North Korean operatives, shipyards, and the crude oil industry, as well as companies and individuals in China - Beijing Chengxing Trading Co.

The Trump administration on Wednesday targeted a swath of illicit actors in China, Russia and elsewhere working on behalf of the North Korean regime.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed stepped-up sanctions on North Korea as it continues to test-fire missiles and conduct nuclear tests. The Treasury Department said the company's procurements also probably support North Korea's chemical weapons program.

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The sanctions imposed on North Korean shipping are the latest in a slew of restrictions the US has declared against North Korean shipping companies.

The administration also sanctioned the North Korean Ministry of Crude Oil Industry, which handles crude oil for Pyongyang.

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

Japan's Foreign Ministry says a Japanese navy surveillance aircraft has spotted a Dominican-flagged oil tanker apparently transferring fuel to a North Korean tanker in the open seas.

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US President Donald Trump has praised China for its efforts to restrict oil and coal supplies to North Korea but was furious about Beijing's alleged involvement in oil smuggling, saying last week that Beijing could do much more to help constrain Pyongyang. It said that between 2013 and 2017, the two companies cumulatively exported over $68 million worth of goods to North Korea and imported more than $19 million of goods from North Korea.

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. Following the launch, the nation's leader, Kim Jong Un, said the country could now strike the United States with a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

Treasury has also sanctioned a Chinese businessman and several North Korean shipping and trading companies and vessels.

Other sanctioned individuals work for banks in China and Russian Federation that are linked to a North Korean bank. President George W. Bush removed North Korea from the list in 2008.

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"Hong Kong of course is an global finance hub and at the same time it has company formation and registration rules that we think need to be stronger", said Mandelker.