WASHINGTON -- The United States has imposed new economic sanctions against a series of Chinese and Russian companies and individuals, accusing them of aiding the North Korean regime and its missile and nuclear programs.
The Treasury Department announced the new measures August 22, saying the penalties were intended to further isolate Pyongyang.
The list includes six Chinese companies, a Russian company, and four Russian individuals, as well as a construction company based in Africa and two Singapore-based companies that allegedly sell oil to North Korea.
In addition to helping North Korea’s weapons programs, the Treasury Department said the companies helped “facilitate its exportation of workers, and enabled sanctioned North Korean entities to access the U.S. and international financial systems.”
The Treasury statement gave no further details. However, North Korean workers have long been utilized by Russian companies doing timber harvesting and other natural resource extraction in Siberia’s vast wilderness, as often as not with awareness of local authorities.
The sanctions aim to block any financial assets the companies and individuals might have, for example, with U.S. banks, and forbid Americans from conducting transactions with them.
Like previous U.S. administrations, President Donald Trump has struggled to respond to North Korea’s increasingly sophisticated weapons programs and its persistent belligerence.
Trump himself recently threatened “fire and fury” against Pyongyang, rhetoric that alarmed many observers in East Asia.