In response to North Korea’s hypersonic missile tests, U.S. President Joe Biden has taken a step to slap sanctions against the North. This marks Washington’s first sanction on Pyongyang’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and ballistic missiles since President Biden was sworn in. The Biden administration also said it will press ahead with additional sanctions on the North through the UN Security Council. The last time the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on North Korea was in December 2017. Experts say Washington has made it clear to pressure the communist regime in earnest.
"The United States will use every appropriate tool to address the DPRK's WMD and ballistic missile programs,” said U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken in a statement on Wednesday (local time), adding seven individuals and one entity had been designated as linked to the DPRK’s weapons programs.
The list of individuals includes Choe Myeong Hyon, Sim Gwang Sok, Kim Song Hoon, Kang Chol Hak, and Pyon Gwang Chol, who had been supplying telecommunications equipment for the development of North Korean missiles from China or Russia. They are high-ranking officials at Pyongyang’s Academy of Defense Science, an entity that led the missile development in North Korea. The blast of North Korea’s alleged hypersonic missiles was conducted by the Academy of Defense Science this time. The sanctions list also includes O Yong Ho and a Russian firm called Parsek LLC as well as a Russian national called Roman Anatolyevich Alar.
The Treasury said the sanctions are for six ballistic missile launches since September 2021, which violated multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions. While the Biden administration imposed sanctions on North Korean Defense Minister Rhee Yong Gil in December last year, it was for his human rights violations in prison camps.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Washington is proposing UN Security Council sanctions in response to Pyongyang’s six ballistic missile launches, in addition to the State Department and the Treasury’s designation.
The Korean presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae did not issue any official statement on Thursday. “It is not an issue that we should comment on because the U.S. government has taken a step based on their local laws,” said officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Unification. The Japanese government said it supports Washington’s stance on its latest sanctions.
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