North Korea recently backed down from threats to rain down missiles on Guam, but that does not mean that the United States government is letting up on the pressure on Pyongyang.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced in a press release that the Treasury will be putting new sanctions on several entities that have financially assisted North Korea, despite sanctions already being in place on the rogue regime.
Washington – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated 10 entities and six individuals in response to North Korea’s ongoing development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), violations of United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolutions, and attempted evasion of U.S. sanctions. Today’s sanctions target third-country companies and individuals that (1) assist already-designated persons who support North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, (2) deal in the North Korean energy trade, (3) facilitate its exportation of workers, and (4) enable sanctioned North Korean entities to access the U.S. and international financial systems. As a result of today’s action, any property or interests in property of the designated persons in the possession or control of U.S. persons or within the United States must be blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them.
The new sanctions are designed to reinforce the UN sanctions placed on North Korea earlier in August. Those sanctions were enacted to restrict the flow of capital going to the authoritarian regime, as its leaders continue to pursue a nuclear weapons program in spite of mass-international condemnation. The last resolution from the UN had rather rare unity on the issue.
Mnuchin stated that “It is unacceptable for individuals and companies in China, Russia, and elsewhere to enable North Korea to generate income used to develop weapons of mass destruction and destabilize the region. We are taking actions consistent with UN sanctions to show that there are consequences for defying sanctions and providing support to North Korea, and to deter this activity in the future.”
The Treasury Department enacted this set of sanctions under the 2005 Executive Order 13382, signed by President Bush to counter regimes that proliferate WMD’s.
Several different entities are being targeted in Russia and China:
OFAC designated China-based Dandong Rich Earth Trading Co., Ltd. for its support to UN- and U.S.-designated Korea Kumsan Trading Corporation, an entity OFAC previously designated for being owned or controlled by, or acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the UN- and U.S.-designated General Bureau of Atomic Energy, which is responsible for North Korea’s nuclear program…
OFAC designated Gefest-M LLC and its director, Russian national Ruben Kirakosyan, for support to the UN- and U.S.-designated Korea Tangun Trading Corporation, also known as Korea Kuryonggang Trading Corporation, which is subordinate to the UN- and U.S.-designated Second Academy of Natural Sciences, an entity involved in North Korea’s WMD and missile programs. Gefest-M LLC, a company based in Moscow, has been involved in the procurement of metals for Korea Tangun Trading Corporation’s Moscow office.
OFAC also designated China- and Hong Kong-based Mingzheng International Trading Limited (“Mingzheng”). Mingzheng acts as a front company for UN- and U.S.-designated Foreign Trade Bank (FTB), and it has provided financial services to FTB by, among other things, conducting U.S.-dollar denominated transactions on behalf of FTB. FTB is North Korea’s primary foreign exchange bank; it was designated by the United Nations on August 5, 2017 as part of UNSCR 2371…
Three Chinese companies are also being targeted by the Treasury for doing nearly half a billion dollars’ worth of business in coal exchanges between 2013 and 2016. Those companies are Dandong Zhicheng Metallic Materials Co., Ltd. (“Zhicheng”), JinHou International Holding Co., Ltd., and Dandong Tianfu Trade Co., Ltd.
Tensions with Moscow, Beijing, and Washington are continuously increasing thanks to a host of reasons, North Korea’s nuclear ambitions being one of them. The new sanctions levied against these companies will likely cause the Kremlin and Chinese government to respond negatively.
But since they’re not really doing anything to assist in stopping the rogue regimes genocidal plans, what else is there to be done right now, short of military action? (Let’s pray we never have to war in Korea again).