US sanctions more companies and individuals for dealing with North Korea

On Thursday the U.S. blacklisted nine companies and government institutions for alleged support of North Korean weapons programs. The list includes two Russian firms.

The announcement comes from the U.S. Treasury as diplomats from the U.S. and China were expected to propose blacklisting more North Korean individuals and entities due to the country's constant tests of ballistic missiles. The U.S. is struggling to slow the North Korean nuclear and missile programs. Each time the U.S. increases its involvement in South Korea with ever increasing shows of force, the North Koreans take this as evidence that they must develop their weapons systems more quickly to deter any attempt by the U.S. and South Korean to use military action to stop them. So far the U.S. attempt to cut off funds and supplies to the North has failed to stop the North from further developing its weapons systems.
The U.S. Treasury sanctioned Ardis Bearings Lic. based in Moscow and also its director IgorAleksandrovich Michurin for providing supplies to a North Korean trading company involved in the country's missile and weapons programs. Another Russian firm Independent Petroleum Company (IPC) and one of its subsidiaries were blacklisted because they had a contract to provide oil to North Korea. The firm already shipped over one million dollars worth of petroleum products to North Korea.
The head of IPC Edward Khudainatov had been CEO of the largest Russian oil company Rosnest before being replaced by Putin's chief aide in 2012. After serving as vice-president for a time he left to take over the IPC producing about 40,000 barrels a day compared with Rosnest's 4 million.
A North Korean zinc company, Korea Zinc Industrial Group and the Korea Computer Center a state-run information technology research center were also black-listed. The center creates foreign currency for the North and is thought to have offices in Germany China, India, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. Kim Su-Kwang an intelligence official was also sanctioned. The Treasury claims he worked undercover in both the UN and Europe. The sanctions will freeze any funds the individuals or companies may have in the U.S. and bar U.S. companies from dealing with them. Sanctions against Russia probably already bar US companies from dealing with them.
The U.S. has also drafted a resolution that has been circulated to the UN Security Council. It would add 15 North Korean individuals and four "entities" to a blacklist for being linked to the country's nuclear and missile programs. However there would be no new sanctions related to recent North Korean missile tests as China opposes any. A final vote on the draft could come as early as this afternoon.
The sanctions would impose a global travel ban and asset freeze on a number of North Koreans, from a man believed to oversea foreign espionage and intelligence gathering, to officials who control media and key government and military appointments. The Vietnamese representative of a bank and heads of two companies also face sanctions. A bank, two trading companies, and the Strategic Rocket Force of the People's Army which is in charge of the ballistic missile program are also sanctioned. Six rounds of sanctions by the UN Security Council have failed to stop the North's weapons programs. While the draft does not call for new sanctions it adds significantly to the list of individuals and companies sanctioned. There are currently 39 individuals and 42 entities and groups blacklisted.
Russia is puzzled and alarmed by a decision by the United States to sanction a Russian citizen and multiple companies over alleged connections to North Korea, according to Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. The new South Korean president is in favor of improving relationships with North Korea. The US, on the other hand, is pursuing a policy of increasing punishment and attempting to isolate the north even more. Tensions between President Moon and the US have already developed over the THAAD anti-missile system.


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