U.S. sanctions more people, firms over North Korea arms

U.S. sanctions more people, firms over North Korea arms
# 01 June 2017 19:06 (UTC +04:00)

The United States on Thursday blacklisted nine companies and government institutions, including two Russian firms, and three people for their support of North Korea's weapons program, the Treasury Department said in a statement.

The United States has struggled to slow North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, and has turned to both unilateral and international sanctions as one of its main tactics in cutting off funds and supplies to the reclusive state's government and military.

The measures on Thursday freeze any funds the individuals or companies may have in the United States, and bar Americans from dealing with them.

The United States sanctioned Ardis-Bearings Llc, which it said is based in Moscow, and its director, Igor Aleksandrovich Michurin, for acting as a supplier to a North Korean trading company involved in the country's missile and weapons of mass destruction programs, the Treasury said.

Another Russian firm, Independent Petroleum Co, and its subsidiary were blacklisted for signing a contract to provide oil to North Korea and shipping over $1 million worth of petroleum products to North Korea, Treasury said.

The Treasury also sanctioned a major North Korean zinc company, the Korea Zinc Industrial Group, and the Korea Computer Center, which it said is a state-run information technology research center that generates foreign currency for the North Korean government through programming and software development. The center is believed to have offices in Germany, China, Syria, India and the Middle East, Treasury said.

In March 2016, then-President Barack Obama imposed sweeping sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear program, allowing the United States to blacklist any individuals, whether or not they are U.S. citizens, who deal with major sectors of North Korea's economy, including its financial, mining and transportation sectors.

A North Korean intelligence official, Kim Su-Kwang, was also sanctioned on Thursday. The Treasury said he had worked undercover at a United Nations organization in Europe.