Following the recent series of North Korean missile launches, including two since last week, the Biden administration imposed its first sanctions over North Korea’s weapons programs on Wednesday.
The sanctions came in light of the North Korean ballistic missile launches – six since September, each of which violated UNSC resolutions – after testing on Tuesday a ballistic missile that could possibly be more advanced than the “hypersonic” one it has launched less than a week ago.
They targeted six North Koreans, one Russian national, and a Russian company that Washington claims were procuring goods from Russia and China aimed for the programs.
Underscoring that the sanctions targeted Pyongyang’s illegal procurement of goods for weapons by using overseas representatives, US Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson, said the final straw were North Korea’s latest launches that have proved the failure of the calls for diplomacy and denuclearization.
Nelson said the State Department had designated for sanctions Russia-based North Korean Choe Myong Hyon, Russian national Roman Anatolyevich Alar, the Russian firm Parsek LLC, Vladivostok-based representative of North Korea’s Second Academy of Natural Sciences (SANS) Choe Myong Hyon, four China-based North Korean representatives of SANS-subordinate organizations as well as one other Russia-based North Korean.
Washington has also proposed five of the sanctioned individuals also be blacklisted by the UNSC.
United Nations Security Council, however, would need a consensus agreement by its 15-member North Korea sanctions committee to implement such request though it is aimed both at preventing North Korea’s programs’ advancement and impeding Pyongyang’s attempts to proliferate weapons technologies.
The sanctioning decision comes following the unsuccessful attempts of Biden’s administration since taking office in January last year to engage Pyongyang in dialogue that would’ve potentially persuade it to give up its nuclear bombs and missiles
However, US State Department spokesman Ned Price noted that despite the sanctions Washington remains committed to pursuing a diplomatic solution to the North Korean issue.