Korean Central News Agency / Korean News Service / AP
WASHINGTON – The Biden administration on Wednesday imposed sanctions on five North Korean officials in its first response to Pyongyang’s latest ballistic missile test and later announced that it would also seek new sanctions from the UN.
The Treasury Department said it was imposing sanctions on the five officials for their role in obtaining equipment and technology for the northern missile programs. In addition, the State Department ordered sanctions against another North Korean, a Russian, and a Russian company for their broader support for North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction activities.
The Treasury measures came just hours after North Korea said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un successfully supervised a hypersonic missile flight test on Tuesday that he said would dramatically increase “deterrence. of the country’s nuclear war.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, tweeted Wednesday evening that following Treasury and state designations, the United States is also proposing UN sanctions in response to North Korea’s six ballistic missile launches since September, “each in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions.”
A US diplomat said the US continues to coordinate with its Council partners on the proposed new sanctions.
One of the five North Koreans targeted by the Treasury is based in Russia, while the other four are based in China. All are accused of providing money, goods or services to North Korea’s Second Academy of Natural Sciences, which the Treasury says is heavily involved in the country’s military defense programs.
“The latest missile launches by the DPRK are further proof that it continues to advance prohibited programs despite calls from the international community for diplomacy and denuclearization,” said Brian Nelson, head of the Treasury in charge of the DPRK. terrorism and financial intelligence. It refers to the North by the acronym of its official name: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The sanctions freeze all assets of targets in U.S. jurisdictions, prohibit Americans from doing business with them, and subject foreign companies and individuals to potential sanctions for dealing with them.
Shortly before the announcement, North Korea’s state news agency reported that the latest missile launch involved a hypersonic hover vehicle, which, after exiting the rocket thruster, demonstrated ” glide ”and a“ corkscrew maneuver ”before reaching a sea target 1,000 kilometers (621 miles away).
Photos released by the agency showed a mounted missile with a sharp cone-shaped payload soaring into the sky while leaving a trail of orange flames, with Kim observing from a small cabin with senior officials including her sister Kim Yo Jong.
The launch was North Korea’s second test of its so-called hypersonic missile in a week, a type of weaponry it first tested in September, as Kim Jong Un continues efforts to expand its capabilities to nuclear weapons in the face of international sanctions, pandemic difficulties and deadlocked diplomacy with the United States.
The UN Security Council initially imposed sanctions on North Korea after its first nuclear test in 2006 and toughened them in response to new nuclear tests and an increasingly sophisticated ballistic missile program. In 2018, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said sanctions cut all North Korean exports and 90% of its trade and dissolved the pool of workers that North Korea sent. abroad to earn hard currency – but Pyongyang managed to evade some of the measures.
China and Russia circulated a draft resolution in November urging the Security Council to end a series of sanctions against North Korea, including a ban on seafood and textile exports, an import cap. of refined petroleum products and a ban on its citizens from working abroad and sending their earnings home. He pointed to North Korea’s economic hardship and said these and other sanctions should be lifted “with the aim of improving the livelihoods of the civilian population.”
China and Russia are both vetoed Security Council members and it remains to be seen whether they will support further sanctions against North Korea.