North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile program is today one of the most serious threats not only to the Asia-Pacific region, but to the world as a whole. So far this year, North Korea has test-fired at least nine ballistic missiles. It has threatened its neighbors and flouted United Nations resolutions.
In order to thwart North Korea’s military, nuclear, and Weapons of Mass Destruction programs, constrain its revenue from labor, coal, and minerals, and stymie its overseas financial operations, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, took action against six entities and three individuals.
They were designated in early June under Executive Orders 13382 and 13722, which allow the Department of the Treasury to freeze their assets within the United States’ reach, and to assess civil penalties to American nationals who do business with them.
Three of the sanctioned entities are Russian companies. The Independent Petroleum Co and its subsidiary, AO NNK-Primornefteproduct were designated for shipping petroleum products to North Korea, and signing a contract to deliver more. Ardis-Bearings Llc is a supplier of the Tangun trading company, which has previously been designated by both the United States and the United Nations for its involvement in North Korea’s missile and weapons of mass destruction programs.
Also sanctioned were the Korea Zinc Industrial Group, and the Korea Computer Center, an information technology research center that generates foreign currency for the North Korean regime.
The Songi Trading Company, which exports North Korean coal, was designated for being a subordinate of the Korean People’s Army.
Also designated were and Ardis-Bearings’ director, Igor Aleksandrovich Michurin, Kim Su-Kwang, an official of North Korea’s primary intelligence organization, the Reconnaissance General Bureau, and Ri Song-hyok, a Beijing-based official for U.S.-designated Koryo Bank and Koryo Credit Development Bank.
“The United States will continue to target individuals and entities responsible for financing and supporting North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, and will continue to increase pressure on this hostile regime,” said Director of OFAC John E. Smith. “Treasury is working with our allies to counter networks that enable North Korea’s destabilizing activities, and we urge our partners to take parallel steps to cut off their funding sources.”