In response to Nuclear Test: United States blacklisted 23 North Korean companies and Officials
Washington, Dec 03: The United States (US) has blacklisted 23 North Korean companies and officials, notably flag carrier Air Koryo, in response to the country’s September 9 nuclear test.
It follows the UN Security Council’s newest and toughest sanctions resolution against Pyongyang yet, aimed at increasingly isolating the Asian country politically and economically after its nuclear bomb test two months ago. The US Treasury Department laid sanctions on Firday, which aim to lock companies and individuals out of the global financial system, on several North Korean banks, construction and trading companies, as well as an oil company.
New on the US sanctions list was Air Koryo, which the Treasury Department painted as a part of Pyongyang’s military network after one of its aircraft “undertook a fly-over in the Victory Day military parade” in July 2013. The airline also transported spare parts or other items used in North Korea’s SCUD-B ballistic missile systems, and the country’s leader Kim Jong Un uses a private jet with the Air Koryo logo, the department said.
The Treasury Department said the new sanction designation would “block” Air Koryo’s 16 aircraft, though it did not respond to queries on what that meant specifically. Air Koryo primarily flies domestically and to Beijing, the main hub for flying to and from the country.
The Treasury Department also blacklisted seven officials from government bodies and companies, all allegedly tied to government nuclear or weapons programmes. “From financial services to mining and energy, today’s action targets individuals and entities operating in key industries that support North Korea’s illicit activities,” said Adam Szubin, acting undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, in a statement. “Treasury will continue to use all of its financial tools to intensify the pressure on North Korea and those supporting the regime’s nuclear ambitions and WMD programmes.