US slaps sanctions on Chinese, Russian firms

Washington: The US Treasury Department on Tuesday said it was imposing economic sanctions on more than a dozen Chinese and Russian individuals and firms for doing business with North Korea’s government.

“It is unacceptable for individuals and companies in China, Russia, and elsewhere to enable North Korea to generate income used to develop weapons of mass destruction and destabilise the region,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement, Efe news agency reported.

The sanctions target 10 entities and six individuals, including China-based Dandong Rich Earth Trading and Mingzheng International, which the US government says have facilitated North Korea’s access to the international financial system, as well as Gefest-M Llc and its director, Ruben Kirakosyan, in Moscow.

As a result of this action, any property or interests in property of the designated persons in the possession or control of US individuals, or within the US, must be blocked, and US individuals are generally prohibited from dealing with them.

“Treasury will continue to increase pressure on North Korea by targeting those who support the advancement of nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and isolating them from the American financial system,” Mnuchin said.

Washington’s decision to impose sanctions follows a unanimous vote earlier this month by the UN Security Council, supported by both Russia and China, to impose additional sanctions on North Korea.

Military tensions between the US and North Korea increased after President Donald Trump promised “fire and fury” in response to President Kim Jong-un’s threats to fire missiles at Guam, a US possession in the western Pacific.

Trump has repeatedly said that China, the only major go-between with the North Korean regime, needs to exert more pressure on Pyongyang. (IANS)

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