New US sanctions target North Korean weapons of mass destruction

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New US sanctions target North Korean weapons of mass destruction

The move came a day after China and Russia vetoed a US-led push to impose more UN sanctions on North Korea over its ballistic missile launches.

A woman watches a TV broadcasting a news report on North Korea's launch of three missiles including one thought to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), in Seoul, South Korea
The vetoes by China and Russia at the United Nations came despite what the US says was a sixth test of an intercontinental ballistic missile by North Korea this year and signs that Pyongyang is preparing to conduct its first nuclear test since 2017 [File: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters]

Published On 27 May 202227 May 2022

The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on two Russian banks, a North Korean company and a person it accused of supporting North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction programme, increasing pressure on Pyongyang over its renewed ballistic missile launches.

The latest American move came a day after China and Russia vetoed a US-led push to impose more United Nations sanctions on North Korea over its ballistic missile launches, publicly splitting the United Nations Security Council for the first time since it started punishing Pyongyang in 2006.

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The vetoes came despite what the US said was a sixth test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by North Korea this year and signs that Pyongyang is preparing to conduct its first nuclear test since 2017.

The US Department of the Treasury in a statement said it targeted Air Koryo Trading Corp as well as Russian financial institutions the Far Eastern Bank and Bank Sputnik for contributing to procurement and revenue generation for North Korean organisations.

Washington also designated Jong Yong Nam, a Belarus-based representative of an organisation subordinate to the North Korea Second Academy of Natural Sciences (SANS), who Washington said has supported North Korean organisations linked to the development of ballistic missiles.

North Korea’s mission to the United Nations in New York did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“The United States will continue to implement and enforce existing sanctions while urging the DPRK (North Korea) to return to a diplomatic path and abandon its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles,” the Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Brian Nelson, said in the statement.

China has been urging the US to take action – including lifting some unilateral sanctions – to entice Pyongyang to resume talks stalled since 2019, after three failed summits between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and then-US President Donald Trump. The US has said Pyongyang should not be rewarded.

SOURCE: REUTERS

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