US imposes new sanctions to limit North Korea’s revenue

The US Treasury Department on Wednesday imposed sanctions on individuals and companies that were accused of illegally generating revenue for the government of North Korea.

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The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Chilsong Trading Corporation, which it says is used by North Korea to earn foreign currency and collect intelligence; and the Korea Pakho Trading Corporation, which has been accused of generating wealth for the North Korean government since the 1980s by operating art and construction projects throughout the Middle East and Africa.

OFAC also sanctioned two individuals — Hwang Kil Su and Pak Hwa Song — for helping the North Korean government generate revenue, the Treasury Department said in a statement.

The department said the individuals established a company named Congo Ekonde SARL in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to earn revenue from construction and statue-building projects with local governments.

Last week, state media said North Korea tested four strategic cruise missiles during a drill designed to demonstrate its ability to launch a nuclear strike against hostile forces.

The Treasury’s top sanctions official Brian Nelson said on Wednesday that North Korea’s “illegal weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs pose a threat to international security and regional stability.”

“The United States is committed to targeting the global illicit networks of regimes that generate revenue for these destabilizing activities,” he added.

Last month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stood by his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, urging countries to take steps to enforce sanctions in response to North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launch.

North Korea has moved forward in the development and mass-production of new missiles despite sanctions imposed by United Nations Security Council resolutions banning the nuclear-armed country’s missile activities.

US and South Korean officials recently participated in a tabletop, or simulated, exercise that focused on the possibility of North Korea using a nuclear weapon.

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