US sanctions target North Korean weapons network

In this photo provided by South Korea Defense Ministry, an Army Tactical Missile System or ATACMS missile is fired during a joint military drill between U.S. and South Korea at an undisclosed location in South Korea, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022. The Joint Chiefs of Staff said the South Korean and U.S. militaries successfully fired a total of four Army Tactical Missile Systems missiles during the exercise that it said was aimed at demonstrating its precision strike capabilities against the North. (South Korea Defense Ministry via AP)

The Biden administration on Friday imposed new sanctions targeting North Korea’s weapons supply network after Pyongyang held a series of provocative missile tests over the past two weeks. 

The Treasury Department slapped the sanctions on two individuals and three entities “for activities related to the exportation of petroleum to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which directly supports the development of DPRK weapons programs and its military,” according to a department statement referring to North Korea by its formal name. 

“By designating these entities and individuals, the United States is sending a clear message that we will continue to take actions against those who support the development and sustainment of the DPRK’s military and weapons arsenal,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a separate statement.  

The sanctions follow six North Korean missile launches within 12 days, the most recent on Thursday. Since the start of the year, the isolated nation has launched 41 ballistic missiles, six of which were intercontinental ballistic missiles and one that flew over Japan.  

Pyongyang’s military also flew 12 warplanes near the border with South Korea on Thursday, prompting Seoul to scramble 30 of its own jets in response. 

The U.S. then held military drills alongside South Korea and Japan, including a wargame that began Friday involving the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group in waters east of South Korea.  

“The DPRK’s long-range ballistic missile launches, including over Japan, demonstrate a continued disregard for United Nations Security Council resolutions,” Brian Nelson, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement. “The United States will continue to enforce multilateral sanctions and pursue the DPRK’s sanctions evasion efforts worldwide, including by designating those who support these activities.” 

The Treasury Department imposed the sanctions on New Eastern Shipping Co Ltd., along with the individuals Kwek Kee Seng and Chen Shih Huan for having helped deliver or transfer refined petroleum products to North Korea, as well as two entities owned or controlled by the two individuals: Anfsar Trading (S) Pte. Ltd. and Swanseas Port Services Pte. Ltd. 

Under U.N. Security Council resolutions, ship-to-ship transfers of any cargo to or from North Korean-flagged vessels are prohibited, and Pyongyang’s import of refined petroleum products is limited to 500,000 barrels per year starting in 2018.  

Blinken noted that North Korea has broken its 500,000-barrel cap every year since the rule was imposed.  

Tags Antony Blinken Antony Blinken Biden ICBMs Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles Japan North Korea North Korea sanctions sanctions Sanctions against North Korea South Korea Treasury Department US military
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