US ramps up pressure on N. Korea with sanctions on Chinese, Russian companies

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The Trump administration on Tuesday announced new sanctions on Chinese and Russian individuals and businesses accused of helping North Korea boost its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

“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 Mnuchin said in a statement.

The 16 sanctioned entities are doing business with previously sanctioned companies and people, work in North Korea’s energy sector, help move North Korean workers to jobs abroad and allow the government to evade sanctions and access international financial markets, Treasury said.

{mosads}It’s the latest move in the Trump administration’s effort to isolate North Korea and force it to give up its nuclear ambitions.

President Trump has long complained that China has not done enough to curb North Korea’s nuclear program. Beijing recently agreed to new United Nations sanctions, but many Chinese companies continue to do business with leader Kim Jong Un’s government in Pyongyang by supplying it with weapons technology.

“It is unacceptable for individuals and companies in China, Russia, and elsewhere to enable North Korea to generate income used to develop weapons of mass destruction and destabilize the region,” said Mnuchin.

Those sanctioned include three Russian individuals and two Singapore-based companies that provide oil to North Korea.

Three Chinese companies facing sanctions imported half a billion dollars worth of North Korean coal between 2013 and 2016, money the Treasury Department said it uses to fund its weapons program.

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