The U.S. Treasury Department slapped three companies and two individuals with fresh sanctions on Wednesday for “illicitly generating revenue” for the North Korean government.
Two of the companies, Chilsong Trading Corporation and Paekho Trading Corporation, act as fronts for North Korean intelligence operatives and earn foreign currency for the regime.
The third company, Congo Aconde SARL, has been active in construction and statue-building projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since at least 2018. Hwang Kil Su and Pak Hwa Song, the founders of that company, were both sanctioned.
The latest round of sanctions come amid increased tensions between North Korea and U.S. allies in the region, including South Korea and Japan.
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North Korea test fired four strategic cruise missiles last week to demonstrate the “war posture of the DPRK nuclear combat force,” state media said. The regime also launched a Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile last week.
The Treasury Department cited those recent missile tests in Wednesday’s sanctions announcement.
“The DPRK’s unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs threaten international security and regional stability,” Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement. “The United States remains committed to targeting the regime’s global illicit networks that generate revenue for these destabilizing activities.”
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U.S. B-1B bombers were escorted by South Korean fighter jets in joint military drills earlier this month. Pentagon officials were also joined by their South Korean counterparts in Washington, D.C., recently for a Deterrence Strategy Committee Table-Top Exercise.