On Wednesday, the US Treasury Department announced that it has imposed sanctions on two individuals and three companies for generating revenue for the North Korean government in an “illicit” manner.
This move comes after several missile launches by Pyongyang, which have been condemned internationally. According to Brian Nelson, the Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, North Korea’s ballistic missile programs and unlawful weapons of mass destruction pose a threat to international security and regional stability.
The Treasury news release stated that Chilsong Trading Corporation and Korea Paekho Trading Corporation have been sanctioned for their association with the North Korean government or the Workers’ Party of Korea.
The Treasury news release further stated that Chilsong is under the control of the North Korean government, which uses trading companies like Chilsong to gather intelligence, earn foreign currency and provide cover for intelligence operatives, while Paekho generates revenue for the DPRK government by conducting art and construction projects on behalf of Middle Eastern and African regimes since the 1980s.
The US Treasury Department also imposed sanctions on Hwang Kil Su and Pak Hwa Song, and their company Congo Aconde SARL, based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for generating revenue for the North Korean government. In a separate statement, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the latest action aligns US sanctions with international partners.
North Korea conducted its third known test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in mid-February, which landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone. Blinken, along with Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa and South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin, condemned the launch in their remarks at the Munich Security Conference the same day.