US treasury department imposes sanctions on North Koreans

Jan 12, 2022: According to a report by Al Jazeera, the US Department of the Treasury on Wednesday slapped sanctions on five North Koreans for what it said are their roles in procuring goods for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile-related programmes.

A statement by the treasury said that its actions follow “six ballistic missile launches since September 2021” by North Korea, noting that they  “violated multiple United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs)”.

The undersecretary of the treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, Brian E Nelson said, “Today’s actions, part of the United States’ ongoing efforts to counter the DPRK’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, target its continued use of overseas representatives to illegally procure goods for weapons, the DPRK’s latest missile launches are further evidence that it continues to advance prohibited programs despite the international community’s calls for diplomacy and denuclearization.”

The sanctions include a North Korean national residing in Russia, about who the finance ministry said he had ordered equipment from Russia for North Korea, as well as North Korea’s weapons programs against four North Korean nationals residing in China.

The Treasury said the US Department of State also sanctioned another North Korean national, a Russian national and a Russian entity, for “having engaged in activities or transactions that have materially contributed to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery by DPRK”.

On Wednesday, North Korean state media reported that leader Kim Jong Un personally monitored the hypersonic missile test this week and showed a picture of him at an undisclosed location – for the first time since 2020, as per state media reports.

Japan and South Korea announced the test on Tuesday, saying it was a suspected ballistic missile.

A number of UN Security Council resolutions have banned North Korea from conducting ballistic missile or nuclear tests. Wednesday’s Treasury operation freezes all US assets of the blacklisted individuals, and generally barred Americans from doing business with them.

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