Date
18 November 2018
Despite a thaw in relations with Pyongyang, Washington has maintained pressure on North Korea through sanctions in an effort to convince the latter to give up its nuclear weapons. Photo: AFP
Despite a thaw in relations with Pyongyang, Washington has maintained pressure on North Korea through sanctions in an effort to convince the latter to give up its nuclear weapons. Photo: AFP

US imposes sanctions on Russian, Chinese tech firms over N Korea

The United States imposed sanctions on a China-based tech firm, its North Korean chief executive and a Russian subsidiary, accusing them of moving illicit funding to North Korea in violation of US sanctions, Reuters reports.

The new sanctions target China-based Yanbian Silverstar Network Technology Co., its North Korean chief executive Jong Song-hwa, and a Russian-based sister company, Volasys Silver Star, the US Treasury Department said in a statement on Thursday.

“These actions are intended to stop the flow of illicit revenue to North Korea from overseas information technology workers disguising their true identities and hiding behind front companies, aliases, and third-party nationals,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

Mnuchin warned companies across the globe “to take precautions to ensure that they are not unwittingly employing North Korean workers for technology projects”.

The Trump administration has maintained pressure on Pyongyang through sanctions in an effort to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, which are a threat to the US.

President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in June at a summit in Singapore where Kim agreed in broad terms to work toward denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. North Korea, however, given no indication it is willing to give up its weapons unilaterally, as the Trump administration has demanded.

Washington has also accused Russia of violating UN sanctions on North Korea by granting work permits to North Korean laborers despite Russia’s denial of any such actions.

‘Russian cover-up’

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Thursday accused Moscow of seeking to cover up breaches of UN sanctions on North Korea by Russians after it pushed for changes to an independent report on sanctions violations.

The UN Security Council will meet on Monday over the implementation of sanctions on North Korea at the request of Washington, the US mission to the United Nations said.

The report, submitted to the Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee last month, said Pyongyang had not stopped its nuclear and missile programs and was violating UN sanctions on exports.

Diplomats said Russia pressured the independent sanctions monitors to amend the report. The Security Council has to agree by consensus on whether to publish the report and the US objected to releasing the amended document.

“Russia can’t be allowed to edit and obstruct independent UN reports on North Korea sanctions just because they don’t like what they say. Period,” Haley said in a statement. “The full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions remains mandatory for all member states – including Russia.”

The amended report removed some references to Russians accused of breaching sanctions on North Korea, said one diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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CG

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