According to the US Department of Treasury, its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today sanctioned nine entities, 16 individuals, and six vessels in response to North Korea’s ongoing development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and continued violations of United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs). Today’s sanctions target agents of the Kim regime financing or otherwise supporting North Korea’s WMD programs and other illicit businesses. As a result of today’s action, any property or interests in property of the designated persons in the possession or control of U.S. persons or within the United States must be blocked, and U.S. persons are prohibited from dealing with any of the designated parties.
“Treasury continues to systematically target individuals and entities financing the Kim regime and its weapons programs, including officials complicit in North Korean sanctions evasion schemes,” said Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin. “Pursuant to UN Security Council Resolutions, the U.S. government is targeting illicit actors in China, Russia, and elsewhere who are working on behalf of North Korean financial networks, and calling for their expulsion from the territories where they reside. We are sanctioning additional oil, shipping, and trading companies that continue to provide a lifeline to North Korea to fuel this regime’s nuclear ambitions and destabilizing activities.”
Representatives of WMD-Related Entities
OFAC designated 10 representatives of the Korea Ryonbong General Corporation (Ryonbong), which has been designated by the UN and the United States. Ryonbong specializes in acquisition for North Korean defense industries and support to Pyongyang’s military-related sales. Its procurements also probably support North Korea’s chemical weapons program. Many of these individuals are located at Ryonbong representative offices in China near the China-North Korean border, where they support the regime in a variety of ways: the Ji’an office handled large quantities of a wide variety of multi-purpose goods such as chemicals, drilling equipment, hoses, metals, and machines; the Dandong office procured multi-purpose items for North Korean arms proliferators; and the Linjiang office often was tasked to fill orders consisting of high quantities of goods worth several millions of dollars.
The following individuals are now designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13687, for being officials of the Workers’ Party of Korea:
- Jong Man Bok, Ryonbong representative in Dandong, China.
- Ri Tok Jin, Ryonbong representative in Ji’an, China. Ri Tok Jin relayed offers from China-based companies to North Korean arms proliferators.
- Kim Man Chun, Ryonbong representative in Linjiang, China.
- Kim Song, Ryonbong representative in Linjiang, China.
- Ryang Tae Chol, Ryonbong representative in Tumen, China.
- Kim Kyong Hak, Ryonbong representative in Zhuhai, China, who was involved in the purchase of hazardous chemicals in mid-2016.
- Han Kwon U, Ryonbong representative in Zhuhai, China.
- Kim Ho Kyu, Ryonbong representative and Vice Consul of the North Korean Consulate General in Nakhodka, Russia.
- Pak Kwang Hun, Ryonbong representative in Vladivostok, Russia.
- Pak Tong Sok, Ryonbong representative in Abkhazia, Georgia, formerly in Nakhodka, Russia. In August 2017, Pak Tong Sok reportedly arranged to deploy North Korean laborers to Abkhazia, which would likely be in violation of UNSCR 2371.
- Kim Pyong Chan, Workers’ Party of Korea official.
Today, pursuant to E.O. 13810 or E.O. 13687, OFAC designated five additional North Korean individuals linked to North Korean financial networks. In UNSCR 2321 of 2016, the UN Security Council decided that, if a Member State determines that an individual is working on behalf of or at the direction of a DPRK bank or financial institution, then Member States shall expel the individual from their territories. With today’s action, the United States has identified 26 such North Korean financial representatives in China, and several others located elsewhere. The following individuals are now designated:
- Choe Song Nam, UN- and U.S.-designated Daesong Bank representative in Shenyang, China. As of late 2016, he reportedly held an account at a Chinese bank.
- Ko Il Hwan, UN- and U.S.-designated Daesong Bank official in Shenyang, China.
- Paek Jong Sam, reportedly a Kumgang Group Bank representative in Shenyang, China. He operates in the financial services industry in North Korea, and he reportedly is affiliated with several Chinese bank accounts and companies.
- Kim Chol, UN- and U.S.-designated Korea United Development Bank representative in Dalian, China. As of 2016, he reportedly held an account at a Chinese bank.
- Ri Myong Hun, reportedly was UN- and U.S.-designated Foreign Trade Bank representative in Vladivostok, Russia.
Chinese and North Korean Trading Companies
OFAC designated China-based Beijing Chengxing Trading Co. Ltd. and Dandong Jinxiang Trade Co., Ltd., pursuant to E.O. 13810. Between January 1, 2013, and June 1, 2017, these two companies have cumulatively exported over $68 million worth of goods to North Korea and imported more than $19 million worth of goods from North Korea. Beijing Chengxing Trading Co. Ltd. reportedly sold two tons of high purity metals to a subordinate of Ryonbong. Dandong Jinxiang Trade Co., Ltd. reportedly conducted trade with UN- and U.S.-designated Korea Tangun Trading Corporation, also known as Korea Kuryonggang Trading Corporation, which is subordinate to the UN- and U.S.-designated Second Academy of Natural Sciences, an entity involved in North Korea’s WMD and missile programs. In August 2015, Dandong Jinxiang Trade Co., Ltd. reportedly also exported over half a million dollars’ worth of used computers to North Korea.
OFAC designated Hana Electronics JVC pursuant to E.O. 13810. Hana Electronics JVC, one of North Korea’s only electronics companies, operates in the manufacturing industry in North Korea.
North Korea Shipping Companies and Vessels
OFAC designated five North Korean shipping companies pursuant to E.O. 13810 for operating in the transportation industry in North Korea. The companies are Gooryong Shipping Co Ltd, Hwasong Shipping Co Ltd, Korea Kumunsan Shipping Co, Korea Marine & Industrial Trdg, and CK International Ltd. OFAC also blocked six vessels as property in which the above companies have an interest. Gooryong Shipping Co Ltd is the registered owner and ship manager and operator of the DPRK-flagged ship GOO RYONG. Hwasong Shipping Co Ltd is the registered owner, ISM manager, and ship and commercial manager of the North Korea-flagged general cargo ship HWA SONG. Korea Kumunsan Shipping Co is the registered owner, ship manager, and operator of the North Korea-flagged tanker KUM UN SAN. Korea Marine & Industrial Trdg is the registered owner, ISM manager, ship manager, and commercial manager of the North Korea-flagged general cargo ships UN RYUL and EVER GLORY. CK International Ltd is the registered owner of the North Korea-flagged general cargo ship UL JI BONG 6, which on-loaded coal at the port of Wonsan, North Korea and delivered the coal to Kholmsk, Russia, on September 5, 2017.
OFAC also sanctioned the North Korean Ministry of Crude Oil Industry, which handles crude oil for North Korea.