By Ebi Kesiena
The United States has imposed sanctions on five North Koreans linked to the country’s ballistic missile program, a day after Pyongyang carried out what it said was the launch of a hypersonic missile.
Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson said in a statement that the five North Koreans being sanctioned were “responsible for procuring goods for the DPRK’s (North Korea’s) weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile-related programs.”
“Today’s actions, part of the United States’ ongoing efforts to counter the DPRK’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, target its continued use of overseas representatives to illegally procure goods for weapons,” he said.
The latest launches “are further evidence that it continues to advance prohibited programs despite the international community’s calls for diplomacy and denuclearization,” Nelson said.
North Korean state media reported on Wednesday that the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, personally oversaw the successful test of the hypersonic missile, the second such launch by the nuclear-armed nation in less than a week.
State news agency KCNA, said the most recent test demonstrated “the superior manoeuverability of the hypersonic glide vehicle.” It claimed it hit a target some 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) away.
The Treasury Department said the sanctions follow the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s “six ballistic missile launches since September 2021, each of which violated multiple United Nations Security Council Resolutions.”
“The United States remains committed to seeking dialogue and diplomacy with the DPRK, but will continue to address the threat posed by the DPRK’s unlawful weapons programs to the United States and the international community,” it said.
The Treasury Department said one of the North Koreans being sanctioned, Choe Myong Hyon, was based in Russia and had provided support to North Korea’s Second Academy of Natural Sciences (SANS), which is already subject to sanctions.
Also targeted, were four China-based North Korean representatives of SANS-subordinate organizations, the Treasury Department said: Sim Kwang Sok, Kim Song Hun, Kang Chol Hak, and Pyon Kwang Chol.