United States hits North Korean officials with sanctions after missile test

The Biden administration on Wednesday imposed sanctions on five North Korean officials in its first response to Pyongyang’s latest ballistic missile test and later announced that it would also seek new UN sanctions.

The Treasury Department said it was imposing sanctions on the five officials for their roles in obtaining equipment and technology for North Korea’s missile programs. In addition, the State Department has ordered sanctions against another North Korean, a Russian man, and a Russian company for their broader support of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction activities.

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

Linda Thomas Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, tweeted Wednesday night that the US is also proposing UN sanctions in response to North Korea’s firing of six ballistic missiles since September, following the US Treasury and State Department designations. UN Security Council Resolutions.

A US diplomat said that the United States continues to coordinate with its partners in the Council on the proposed new sanctions.

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

“The DPRK’s recent missile launches are further evidence that it continues to develop proscribed programs despite the international community’s calls for diplomacy and denuclearization,” said Treasury Department Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Division Chief Brian Nelson. He referred to the North by the acronym of its official name: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The sanctions freeze any assets the targets have in US jurisdictions, preventing Americans from doing business with them and exposing foreign companies and individuals to potential sanctions for transactions with them.

Shortly before the announcement, North Korea’s official news agency reported that the latest missile launch included a hypersonic glide vehicle, which after its launch from the missile demonstrated “gliding flight” and “spiral maneuvering” before reaching a sea target 1,000 km (621 mi) ) miles away.

Pictures released by the agency showed a missile loaded with a tapered cone-shaped payload hovering in the sky while leaving behind orange flames, as Kim watched from a small room housing senior officials, including his sister Kim Yo Jong.

The launch was North Korea’s second test of its hypersonic missile in a week, a type of weapon it first tested in September, as Kim Jong Un continues a defiant endeavor to expand the capabilities of his nuclear weapons in the face of international pandemic-related sanctions. Difficulties and stalled diplomacy with the United States.

The UN Security Council initially imposed sanctions on North Korea after its first nuclear test in 2006 and made them tougher in response to more nuclear tests and an increasingly sophisticated ballistic missile program. In 2018, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said sanctions cut off all North Korean exports and 90% of its trade and disbanded the group of workers North Korea sent abroad to earn hard currency — but Pyongyang has managed to evade some. measures.

China and Russia circulated a draft resolution in November urging the Security Council to end a raft of sanctions against North Korea, including a ban on seafood and textile exports, a cap on imports of refined petroleum products, and a ban on its citizens from working abroad and sending in. home their earnings. She stressed North Korea’s economic difficulties and said these and other sanctions should be lifted “with the intent of enhancing the livelihoods of the civilian population.”

Both China and Russia are members of the Security Council with veto power and whether they will support new sanctions on North Korea remains unknown.

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