US sanctions N. Korean agents allegedly connected with weapons program, financial networks
 Source : News Bharati English  Date : 01-Apr-2017

Washington, April 1: The United States have sanctioned 11 North Koreans and one North Korean company for their alleged connection with the country's weapons program, banks and commodities trade on Friday. Notably, the sanctions targeted North Korean agents working in Russia, China, Vietnam and Cuba.
The US Treasury department alleged that the people were working as agents of North Korea's government in Russia, China, Vietnam and Cuba to provide financial support or help procure weapons for previously sanctioned companies. However, these strict actions by Trump administration do not represent a major ramp-up in North Korea sanctions and were issued under authorities established by former presidents George W. Bush, a Republican, and Barack Obama.

The US Treasury further said that two North Koreans based in China and one North Korean based in Cuba were blacklisted for ties to Korea Ryonbong General Corporation, a previously sanctioned company that specializes in acquisition for North Korean defense industries and support to Pyongyang's military-related sales. Another worked for a North Korean trading company in Dalian, China.

It said six North Koreans based in Vietnam, China and Russia were sanctioned for their ties to North Korean banks. One person on the sanctioned list worked as a North Korean government official who was trying to establish a cargo shipping route between North Korea and Vietnam, Treasury said.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, "Today's sanctions are aimed at disrupting the networks and methods that the Government of North Korea employs to fund its unlawful nuclear, ballistic missile, and proliferation programs." "I urge our partners and allies to take similar measures to cut off it's funding," he added.

Notably, North Korea has launched at least three test missiles in the last month, rattling U.S. allies in the region. President Trump is expected to take up the issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting at his Mar-a-Lago retreat next week. Meanwhile, South Korean government hailed new US sanctions on North Korea.