WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday sanctioned six North Koreans, one Russian and an entity it said were responsible for procuring goods for North Korea’s weapons programs, a move that follows a series of North Korean missile launches, including two since last week.
The U.S. Treasury Department said the moves were in line with American efforts to prevent the advancement of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile programs “and impede attempts by Pyongyang to proliferate related technologies.”
It said it followed six North Korean ballistic missile launches since September 2021, each of which it said violated multiple U.N. Security Council Resolutions.
In a statement, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said the moves targeted North Korea’s “continued use of overseas representatives to illegally procure goods for weapons.”
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He said North Korea’s latest missile launches were “further evidence that it continues to advance prohibited programs despite the international community’s calls for diplomacy and denuclearization.”
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for a boosting of his country’s strategic military forces as he observed the test of a hypersonic missile on Tuesday, North Korean state media said.
The second test of a “hypersonic missile” in less than a week underscored Kim’s New Year’s vow to bolster the military with cutting-edge technology at a time when talks with South Korea and the United States have stalled.
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Chris Gallagher; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Jonathan Oatis)
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