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U.S. sanctions companies, individual for violating North Korean shipping bans

By Danielle Haynes
The United States sanctioned three firms and a Russian individual Wednesday for facilitating shipping with North Korea in violation of U.N. sanctions. File Photo by Shealah Craighead/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/b0b5edb7dc86981633a603687f4ca5f7/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
The United States sanctioned three firms and a Russian individual Wednesday for facilitating shipping with North Korea in violation of U.N. sanctions. File Photo by Shealah Craighead/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. Treasury implemented sanctions on Chinese, Russian and Singaporean shipping firms Wednesday for violating U.N. trade restrictions with North Korea.

The financial penalties target three entities and one individual, a Russian national, the department said, for violating U.N. bans on shipments on behalf of North Korea. The U.N. Security Council voted in September to sanction the Kim Jong Un regime in September for threatening international peace with its nuclear weapons program.

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"The tactics that these entities based in China, Singapore and Russia are using to attempt to evade sanctions are prohibited under U.S. law, and all facets of the shipping industry have a responsibility to abide by them or expose themselves to serious risks," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. "Consequences for violating these sanctions will remain in place until we have achieved the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea."

The Treasury Department said China-based Dalian Sun Moon Star International Logistics Trading Co. and its Singapore affiliate, SINSMS Pte. Ltd., falsified shipping documents to assist Pyongyang with importing alcohol and tobacco products. The United States said Russia's port service company Profinet and its director-general, Vasili Aleksandrovich Kolchanov, provided port services to North Korean-flagged vessels at least six times.

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Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on nations to adhere to the U.N. sanctions, accusing Russia of not following through.

"We have seen reports that Russia is allowing for joint ventures with North Korean firms and granting new work permits to North Korean guest workers," he said. "If these reports prove accurate -- and we have every reason to believe that they are -- that would be in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2375."

Pompeo has been working with his North Korean counterparts to denuclearize the country and reach diplomacy. President Donald Trump has heralded his meeting with North Korean leader Kim at a June summit in Singapore as a "first bold step," toward peace.

RELATED Russia turns down U.S. North Korea sanctions at U.N.

Kim had announced his commitment to denuclearize the Korean peninsula in March followed by a landmark agreement with South Korea in April to achieve full denuclearization.

RELATED North Korea slams U.S. calls for 'preemptive denuclearization'

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