US slaps new sanctions on North Korea over weapons program

US slaps new sanctions on North Korea over weapons program
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The Treasury Department announced new sanctions on North Korea on Wednesday over its nuclear weapons program.

"Treasury continues to systematically target individuals and entities financing the Kim regime and its weapons programs, including officials complicit in North Korean sanctions evasion schemes," Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinBipartisan housing finance reform on the road less taken Trump at a pivotal crossroads on Iran Overnight Defense: Trump says he doesn't want war with Iran | Pentagon chief calls attack on Saudi oil facilities 'unprecedented' | Administration weighs response | 17th US service member killed in Afghanistan this year MORE said in a statement.

The U.S. is targeting nine entities, 16 people and six vessels under the sanctions.

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The department also announced it was targeting "illicit actors" in Russia and China for working with North Korean financial networks, as well as oil, shipping and trading companies that do business with North Korea.

Relations between North Korea and the U.S. have declined over the past year amid Pyongyang's continued testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles and President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border MORE's warnings to the nation.

President Trump praised his administration's sanctions on North Korea earlier this month. 

Despite declining tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, relations between North Korea and South Korea appear to be improving.

North and South Korean leaders have taken part in negotiations for the first time in years on the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.