US Sanctions 3 Russian Entities for Connections to N Korean Nuke Program

The measures could have been agreed by the council's North Korea sanctions committee behind closed doors, but a public vote would amplify the body's anger at Pyongyang's defiance of a U.N. ban on ballistic missile launches.The United States had been negotiating with Pyongyang ally China for five weeks on possible new sanctions.

The sanctions came after a series of successful missile tests by North Korea in recent months that demonstrated steady progress in its pursuit of various types of missiles, including a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S.

The draft resolution expresses "serious concern" that North Korea continues to violate United Nations resolutions with repeated launches and attempted launches of ballistic missiles, noting that these tests contribute to development of its nuclear weapons delivery systems.

The diplomat added that none of the Council's five veto-wielding permanent members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the U.S. - have threatened to block the resolution.

The Council calls on the North to "abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner", and end all ballistic missile test launches.

The individuals and the entities put on the US sanctions list will have their assets within the USA frozen while being banned from doing business with American companies.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov responded to the sanctions with bewilderment and alarm, according to Reuters.

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The Security Council first imposed sanctions on Pyongyang in 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs and has ratcheted up the measures in response to five nuclear tests and two long-range missile launches. Traditionally, the United States and China have negotiated new sanctions before involving the other council members.

Washington has worked to step up both unilateral and global sanctions in an effort to cut off funds and supplies to the reclusive state.

The sanctions also target companies providing funds for the North's nuclear and missile development, including North Korean companies such as Korea Computer Center, Songi Trading Co. and the Korea Zinc Industrial Group.

The firm and subsidiary were included after signing a $1 million deal to provide North Korea with oil. John Smith, director of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset Control said his department is working with allies to counter networks that help fund North Korea's destabilizing activities.

Also named were North Korean coal and zinc exporters, a Beijing-based North Korean banker, and an intelligence official who had operated under cover in Europe.

  • Leroy Wright