US Treasury Extends Sanctions on North Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, talks to military officers and civilian officials at the Chemical Material Institute Academy of Defense Science. A concept diagram of a Pukguksong-3 missile is displayed in front of Kim. DPR Korea/KCNA photo

The Department of the Treasury announced expanded sanctions against North Korea on Tuesday as the US seeks to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons program. The sanctions follow, and are intended to complement, United Nations Resolution 2371, which was adopted by the Security Council on Aug. 5.

UN 2371 banned North Korean sales of coal, iron, iron ore, seafood, lead, and lead ore to UN member nations in order to cut off export profits that could provide funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Now Washington is moving to limit oil sales to North Korea from three Russian individuals and two Singapore-based companies. Treasury also designated three new Chinese companies for purchasing coal from North Korea.

In addition, the new Treasury sanctions designate a China-based foreign exchange bank for providing transaction services that enable North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, and it also targets a technical services firm for using revenue generated from overseas labor services to fund the government of North Korea.

“Treasury will continue to increase pressure on North Korea by targeting those who support the advancement of nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and isolating them from the American financial system,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in a statement accompanying the announcement.

The move by Treasury came on the same day that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed new hope for dialogue with North Korea. “We have had no missile launches or provocative acts on the part of North Korea since the unanimous adoption of the U.N. Security Council resolution,” Tillerson told reporters at a State Department briefing, according to Reuters.

“We hope that this is the beginning of this signal that we’ve been looking for, that they are ready to restrain their level of tensions,” the Secretary added.