US sanctions North Koreans, citing ‘ballistic missile’ tests

The US Treasury sanctioned North Korean nationals based in Russia and China following ‘six ballistic missile launches since September’.

The United States Department of the Treasury on Wednesday slapped sanctions on five North Koreans for what it said are their roles in procuring goods for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile-related programmes.

The Treasury said in a statement that its actions follow “six ballistic missile launches since September 2021” by North Korea, noting that they  “violated multiple United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs)”.

“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,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E Nelson in a statement. “The DPRK’s latest missile launches are further evidence that it continues to advance prohibited programs despite the international community’s calls for diplomacy and denuclearization.”

Among those sanctioned are a Russia-based North Korean national who the Treasury said procured equipment from Russia for North Korea, as well as four China-based North Korean nationals accused of procuring Chinese goods for North Korea’s weapons programmes.

In a related action, the Treasury said the US Department of State also sanctioned another North Korean national, a Russian national and a Russian entity, for “having engaged in activities or transactions that have materially contributed to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery by DPRK”.

On Wednesday, North Korean state media reported that leader Kim Jong Un personally oversaw a hypersonic missile test this week and featured a photo of him at an undisclosed location – the first time state media has pictured him at a missile test since 2020.

Japan and South Korea reported the test launch on Tuesday, saying it was a suspected ballistic missile.

North Korea is banned from conducting ballistic missile or nuclear tests by numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Wednesday’s Treasury action freezes all US assets of those who are blacklisted, and generally prohibits Americans from doing business with them.