U.S. hits North Korea with new sanctions targeting missile program


SEOUL, March 1 (UPI) — The United States slapped new sanctions on three entities and two individuals for “illicitly generating revenue” that the North Korean regime uses to develop its weapons programs, the Treasury announced.

The department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control on Wednesday designated two North Korean firms, Chilsong Trading Corporation and Korea Paekho Trading Corporation.


Chilsong acts as a front to earn foreign currency and collect intelligence for Pyongyang, the department said in a news release. Paekho operates under the North Korean military and has conducted art and construction projects for regimes in the Middle East and Africa since the 1980s.

The new sanctions also targeted North Korean individuals Hwang Kil Su and Pak Hwa Song and a construction firm they established in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo Aconde SARL.

Under the designations, transactions with the entities and individuals will be banned and all property and assets in the United States connected to them will be frozen.

“The DPRK’s unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs threaten international security and regional stability,” Brian Nelson, under secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.


The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the official name of North Korea.

“The United States remains committed to targeting the regime’s global illicit networks that generate revenue for these destabilizing activities,” Nelson said.

The new sanctions come roughly two weeks after North Korea launched a Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile and warned of turning the region into a “firing range.”

Pyongyang followed up last week with a test of four strategic cruise missiles in what it called a demonstration of its “lethal nuclear counterattack capability.”

In a separate statement, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Wednesday’s action “further aligns U.S. sanctions with our international partners.”

“The European Union previously designated Chilsong, Paekho, Pak and Hwang for engaging in sanctions evasion and being responsible for supporting the DPRK’s unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programs,” Blinken said.

North Korea has continued to develop its weapons program despite longstanding U.N. Security Council sanctions banning any ballistic or nuclear activity.

The isolated regime has increasingly turned to cybercrime to raise funds, with North Korean hackers stealing more than $1.2 billion in cryptocurrency since 2017, according to the South Korean government.

Washington recently led a push at the U.N. Security Council to condemn the North’s latest ballistic missile launches, but it was blocked by Russia and China, who have consistently stonewalled any attempts to impose new multilateral sanctions on Pyongyang over the past year.


The United States and South Korea, meanwhile, conducted a tabletop exercise last week to prepare for a possible North Korean nuclear attack. The allies will kick off their springtime Freedom Shield joint military exercise in South Korea in mid-March.

Pyongyang has long condemned the drills as preparations for an invasion and warned last month of “unprecedentedly persistent and strong counteractions” to the upcoming exercise.