The Biden administration slapped sanctions on five North Korean officials in response to the totalitarian regime’s latest ballistic missile test.
The Treasury Department said late Wednesday the sanctions were imposed on the five officials because they helped obtain equipment and technology for Pyongyang’s missile program.
In addition, the State Department sanctioned another North Korean man and a Russian company for their support of the program.
However, none of the officials sanctioned actually reside in North Korea. One lives in Russia, and the other four operate in China.
All are alleged to have provided money, goods or services to North Korea’s Second Academy of Natural Sciences, which the Treasury Department says boosts the regime’s military defense program.
The sanctions freeze any assets the targets have stashed away in the U.S., prohibit Americans from doing business with them and could punish foreign companies for working with the individuals.
“The DPRK’s latest missile launches are further evidence that it continues to advance prohibited programs despite the international community’s calls for diplomacy and denuclearization,” said Treasury’s chief of terrorism and financial intelligence, Brian Nelson, using the country’s acronym for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The launch was North Korea’s second test of its purported hypersonic missile in a week, a weapon that first made the scene in September.
Shortly before the announcement, North Korea’s state news agency reported the missile launch involved a hypersonic glide vehicle, which after its release from the rocket demonstrated “glide jump flight” and “corkscrew maneuvering,” before hitting a sea target 621 miles away.
Photos released by the state news agency showed the missile soaring in the sky as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un watched from a small cabin with top officials, including his sister Kim Yo Jong.
The U.S. also announced that it would ask the United Nations for new sanctions.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield tweeted Wednesday that North Korea’s six ballistic missile launches since September “were in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.”
The Security Council initially imposed sanctions on North Korea after its first nuclear test in 2006 and ratcheted up the punishments in response to further nuclear tests.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in 2018, the sanctions had cut off all North Korean exports and 90% of its trade. However, the nation has been able to work around the sanctions.
• This story is based in part on wire service reports.