WASHINGTON: The United States imposed sanctions on five North Koreans linked to the country’s ballistic missile program, a day after Pyongyang carried out what it said was the launch of a hypersonic missile.
The Treasury Department said the five North Koreans being sanctioned were “responsible for procuring goods for the DPRK’s (North Korea’s) weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile-related programs.”
“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,” Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement.
The latest launches “are further evidence that it continues to advance prohibited programs despite the international community’s calls for diplomacy and denuclearization,” Nelson said.
North Korean state media reported on Wednesday that the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, personally oversaw the successful test of the hypersonic missile, the second such launch by the nuclear-armed nation in less than a week.
State news agency said the most recent test demonstrated “the superior manoeuverability of the hypersonic glide vehicle.” It claimed it hit a target some 1,000 kilometers away.
The Treasury Department said the sanctions follow the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s “six ballistic missile launches since September 2021, each of which violated multiple United Nations Security Council Resolutions.”
“The United States remains committed to seeking dialogue and diplomacy with the DPRK, but will continue to address the threat posed by the DPRK’s unlawful weapons programs to the United States and the international community,” it said.
The Treasury Department said one of the North Koreans being sanctioned, Choe Myong Hyon, was based in Russia and had provided support to North Korea’s Second Academy of Natural Sciences (SANS), which is already subject to sanctions.
Also targeted were four China-based North Korean representatives of SANS-subordinate organizations, the Treasury Department said: Sim Kwang Sok, Kim Song Hun, Kang Chol Hak and Pyon Kwang Chol.
In a related action, Treasury said the Department of State had designated another North Korean, O Yong Ho, a Russian national, Roman Anatolyevich Alar, and a Russian company, Parsek LLC, for having “materially contributed to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery by (North Korea).”
The Treasury move prohibits any dealings by US nationals with the designated individuals and foreign companies that engage with them could also be subject to sanctions. The sanctions targeted six North Koreans, one Russian and a Russian firm Washington said were responsible for procuring goods for the programs from Russia and China.
The US Treasury said the steps aimed both to prevent the advancement of North Korea’s programs and to impede its attempts to proliferate weapons technologies.
The United States also proposed that five of those individuals also be blacklisted by the United Nations Security Council, which would need consensus agreement by the body’s 15-member North Korea sanctions committee