Published: Tue, August 22, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Treasury sanctions Russians, Chinese for aiding N. Korea missile program

Treasury sanctions Russians, Chinese for aiding N. Korea missile program

The United States also sanctioned five Chinese entities under an executive order targeting North Korea, the US Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said on Tuesday. Meanwhile, China and Russian Federation have called on the USA and South Korea to halt the annual exercise in exchange for Pyongyang's halting of further weapons development. In complaints filed Tuesday in federal court in the District of Columbia, they accused the companies of laundering dollars through USA accounts on behalf of sanctioned entities in North Korea.

"The sanctions target a range of North Korea's illicit activities and the focus on Chinese facilitators is another message to Beijing", said Anthony Ruggiero, a Foundation for Defense of Democracies senior fellow and former U.S. Treasury official.

"North Korea generates a significant share of the money it uses to fuel its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes by mining natural resources and selling those resources overseas", the US Treasury Department said in its announcement.

The Trump administration announced new sanctions against China and Russian Federation on Tuesday as part of its campaign to pressure North Korea to stop its development of nuclear weapons and missiles.

Ukraine's state-owned rocket factory, Yuzhmash, took umbrage at the New York Times article and the International Institute for Strategic Studies report upon which it was largely based, denying that it had provided any assistance to North Korea.

A further Russian company and one of its employees were added to OFAC's list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) and Blocked Persons for procuring metals on behalf of the Korea Tangun Corporation, a sanctioned North Korean company working under the DPRK's Second Academy of Natural Sciences.

"Treasury will continue to increase pressure on North Korea by targeting those who support the advancement of nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and isolating them from the American financial system", Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said in a statement.

The sanction list includes Ruben Kirakosyan, Mikhail Pisklin, Andrey Serbin and Irina Huish.

Beijing accounts for about 85% of Pyongyang's imports, according to United Nations data.

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