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US sanctions North Korea after Russia, China veto bid at UN

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, speaks in front of what the North says an intercontinental ballistic missile displayed at an exhibition of weapons systems in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Oct. 11, 2021.(File photo by AP)

The United States has imposed new sanctions targeting North Korea following its renewed ballistic missile launches.

The US Treasury Department levied sanctions Friday against two Russian banks, a North Korean company and a person it accused of supporting the North's weapons program.

The department said it was criminalizing any transactions with certain Russian banks, including the Far Eastern Bank and Bank Sputnik.

Senior Treasury official Brian Nelson said the banks were targeted as they "knowingly provided significant financial services" to the North, formally known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The department also sanctioned a trading company affiliated with state carrier Air Koryo, which is already under sanctions, as well as Jong Yong Nam, who allegedly works out of Moscow-allied Belarus for North Korea's weapons research body.

"The United States will continue to implement and enforce existing sanctions while urging the DPRK to return to a diplomatic path and abandon its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles," Nelson said in a statement.

On Wednesday, North Korea launched at least three ballistic missiles toward waters off its eastern coast one after another.

A day later, the US failed in its push at the United Nations for new sanctions on North Korea after China and Russia vetoed the US' draft resolution.  

China, the North’s closest ally, and Russia, whose relations with the West have sharply deteriorated over its military operation in Ukraine, said they would have preferred a non-binding statement instead of a fresh resolution against Pyongyang.

Since 2017, when the council last stepped up sanctions on Pyongyang, China and Russia have been trying to ease sanctions on humanitarian grounds.

While they have delayed some action behind closed doors in the Security Council's North Korea sanctions committee, the Thursday vote on the resolution was the first time they have publicly broken unanimity.


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