Monday, January 17, 2022

US imposes sanctions on North Korean officials after missile test

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Biden administration on Wednesday imposed sanctions on five North Korean officials in a first reaction to Pyongyang’s latest ballistic missile test and later announced it would seek new UN sanctions as well.

The Treasury Department said it is fining five officers for their roles in obtaining equipment and technology for the North’s missile programs. In addition, the State Department ordered sanctions against another North Korean, a Russian person, and a Russian company for their widespread support of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction activities.

The Treasury’s moves came hours after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday oversaw a successful flight test of a hypersonic missile he claimed would significantly increase the country’s nuclear “war deterrent”.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield tweeted on Wednesday night that the US is proposing UN sanctions in response to North Korea’s six ballistic missile launches since September, each of which violates designations by the Treasury and the state. Was. United Nations Security Council resolution.”

A US diplomat said the US was continuing to coordinate with its council partners on the proposed new sanctions.

Of the five North Koreans targeted by the Treasury, one is based in Russia, while the other four are based in China. All are accused of providing money, goods or services to North Korea’s Second Academy of Natural Sciences, which the Treasury says is heavily involved in the country’s military defense programs.

“The DPRK’s latest missile launches are further evidence that it is pursuing prohibited programs despite calls from the international community for diplomacy and denuclearization,” said Brian Nelson, Treasury’s head of terrorism and financial intelligence. He referred to the North by an abbreviation for its official name: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The sanctions freeze any assets of the target in US jurisdiction, bar Americans from doing business with them and subject foreign companies and individuals to potential penalties for transactions with them.

Shortly before the announcement, North Korea’s state news agency reported that the latest missile launch involved a hypersonic glide vehicle, which performed a “glide jump flight” before hitting a sea target of 1,000 km (621) after its release from a rocket booster. ” and performed the “corkscrew maneuver”. miles away.

In photos released by the agency, Kim is seen from a small cabin with top officials, including her sister Kim Yo Jong, as Kim soars into the sky with a pointed cone-shaped payload leaving a trail of orange flames Shows a missile.

The launch was North Korea’s second test of its alleged hypersonic missile in a week, a type of weapon it first tested in September, as Kim Jong Un denounced international sanctions, pandemic-related efforts to expand its nuclear weapons capabilities. A defiant push has continued. Difficulties and standoff diplomacy with the United States.

The United Nations Security Council initially imposed sanctions on North Korea after its first nuclear test in 2006 and made them more difficult in response to further nuclear tests and an increasingly sophisticated ballistic missile program. In 2018, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley stated that sanctions had cut off all North Korean exports and 90% of its trade and dissolved the pool of workers that North Korea sent abroad to earn hard currency. Was – but Pyongyang has managed to escape something. Measure.

China and Russia circulated a draft resolution in November urging the Security Council to end a number of sanctions against North Korea, including a ban on the export of seafood and textiles, a cap on imports of refined petroleum products and foreign countries. Includes restrictions on its citizens working. their income at home. It emphasized the economic difficulties in North Korea and said these and other sanctions should be lifted “with the intention of increasing the livelihoods of the civilian population”.

Both China and Russia are veto-fertile members of the Security Council and whether they will support the new sanctions on North Korea remains to be seen.

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