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U.S. sanctions N. Korean officer, bank

March 11, 2013 at 3:49 PM

WASHINGTON, March 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. treasury Monday slapped sanctions on North Korea's main foreign exchange bank and an official in the country's weapons of mass destruction program.

"North Korea uses [the Foreign Trade Bank] to facilitate transactions on behalf of actors linked to its proliferation network, which is under increasing pressure from recent international sanctions," Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen said Monday in a release. "The United States will take strong measures to protect its financial system from this type of illicit activity, and we urge financial institutions around the world to be particularly wary of the risks of doing business with FTB."

The international community has condemned North Korea's WMD proliferation activity, most recently in last week's U.N. Security Council resolution for a fourth round of sanctions against the reclusive country.

Monday's designations of FTB and Paek Se-Bong, the chairman of North Korea's Second Economic Committee linked to the DPRK missile program, follows actions last week by the Treasury Department against China-based representatives of the Korea Mining Development Corporation and Tanchon Commercial Bank.

The designation generally bars transactions between the designees and any U.S. person, and freezes any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction.

In addition, The U.S. State Department said it designated for sanctions three individuals involved in North Korea's WMD and ballistic weapons programs, the department said in a release.

The three the department designated are Pak To-Chun, head of U.S.- and European Union-designated Munitions Industry Department; Chu Kyu-Chang, a Korean Workers Party Political Bureau alternate member who directs the Munitions Industry Department; and O Kuk-Ryol, vice chairman of the North Korean National Defense Commission.

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