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Thursday, January 20, 2022

US imposes sanctions on North Koreans, Russians after missile test

In this photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on January 12, 2022, a missile is launched during a hypersonic missile test at an undisclosed location in North Korea on January 11, 2022, state media reports. KCNA via Reuters

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WASHINGTON, Jan 12 (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday sanctioned six North Koreans, a Russian and a Russian firm responsible for buying goods from Russia and China for North Korea’s weapons programs, an action Which follows a series of North Korean missile launches including two from last week.

The US Treasury Department said the moves are aimed at halting the progress of North Korea’s weapons programs and hindering efforts to disseminate weapons technologies.

The sanctions were the first to specifically target North Korea’s weapons programs imposed by the Biden administration, which has sought to fail negotiations to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear bombs and missiles.

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A Treasury Department statement said the sanctions led to six North Korean ballistic missile launches since September, each of which violated UN Security Council resolutions.

Brian Nelson, the Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said the move targeted North Korea’s “continued use of foreign representatives to illegally buy goods for weapons.”

“North Korea’s latest missile launches are “further evidence that it continues to pursue prohibited programs despite calls from the international community for diplomacy and denuclearization,” Nelson said in a statement.

It said that the US State Department has designated Russia-based North Korean Cho Myong-hyon, Russian citizen Roman Anatolyevich Alara and Russian firm Parsec LLC “for activities or transactions that have led to the use of weapons of mass destruction or their means of distribution”. have contributed materially to the spread.”

It said the Vladivostok-based representative of North Korea’s Second Academy of Natural Sciences (SANS) Cho Myong-hyeon had worked to buy telecommunications-related equipment from Russia.

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Four China-based North Korean representatives of SANS-subordinate organizations – Sim Kwang Sok, Kim Song Hoon, Kang Chol Haq and Pyon Kwang Chol – and another North Korean, O Yong Ho, were also targeted.

The Treasury said Sim Kwang Sok, based in Dalian, had acted to procure steel alloys and Kim Song Hun, based in Shenyang, software and chemicals.

North Korea’s UN mission, the Russian and Chinese embassies in Washington and the Russian firm did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for an increase in his country’s strategic military forces while observing a test of a hypersonic missile on Tuesday, North Korean state media said. read more

The second test in less than a week underscored Kim’s pledge to strengthen the military with state-of-the-art technology at a time when talks with South Korea and Washington were stalled.

Tuesday’s test comes hours after the US mission to the United Nations, joined by Albania, France, Ireland, Japan and the United Kingdom, condemning last week’s launch and calling on UN member states to meet their sanctions obligations Did. read more

United Nations Security Council resolutions banning and imposing sanctions on North Korean ballistic missile and nuclear tests.

Anthony Ruggiero, a sanctions expert in the former Trump administration who failed to persuade Kim to back his nuclear program despite unprecedented engagement, called the new sanctions “a good start”.

However, he said the Biden administration had allowed the pressure of sanctions to be reversed, adding: “Biden needs to continue the designation to increase the pressure on the Kim regime.”

Wednesday’s action freezes any US-related assets of the target people and blocks all transactions with them.

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Reporting by David Brunstrom and Chris Gallagher; Additional reporting by Simon Lewis; Editing by Jonathan Otis, Howard Golar and Grant McCool

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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