In an effort to pressure the North Korean regime into abandoning its nuclear and missile programs, the United Nations Security Council adopted a number of resolutions aimed at preventing North Korea from selling its natural resources to fund its weapons of mass destruction programs. Most UN Member States, including the United States, support and implement these resolutions and impose their own sanctions on entities and individuals who choose to circumvent the UN Security Council resolutions.
In mid-December, the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, took sanctions action against six companies and four vessels related to the transport of North Korean coal.UN Security Council resolution 2371 bans the export North Korean coal, iron, lead, and seafood.
OFAC designated the ship Asian Bridge and its operators, the Chinese company Weihai Huijiang [Hway-dzh-young] Trade Ltd and UK-registered Always Smooth Ltd and Good Siblings Ltd, and also identified two ships, the Lucky Star and the Asia Bridge, as blocked property related to these companies. Both vessels loaded coal in North Korean ports and transported it throughout the region.
Hong Kong-based Silver Bridge Shipping company and the Thinh Cuong [Tin cue-ong] company of Vietnam were also designated by OFAC, which also identified as blocked property two related vessels, the Calm Bridge, and the Star 18. Both ships loaded coal in North Korean ports and transported it throughout the region.
Finally, OFAC designated the Korea Daizin [Dai-zin] Trading company, which operates in North Korea and Vietnam. Over the past four years or more, Daizin Trading has exported large quantities of North Korean coal.
The designations prohibit U.S. companies and individuals from dealing with the sanctioned companies and vessels. Foreign companies and financial institutions that do business with designated entities may themselves be subject to sanctions.
“The DPRK [North Korea] continues to circumvent the UN prohibition on the exportation of coal, a key revenue generator that helps fund its weapons of mass destruction programs,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “The North Korean regime often uses forced labor from prison camps in its mining industries, including coal, exploiting its own people to advance its illicit weapons programs.”