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U.S., Asian allies hit North Korea with new sanctions over missile tests

The United States, South Korea and Japan imposed new sanctions on North Korea over its illicit weapons programs in the wake of Pyongyang's latest intercontinental ballistic missile test. Photo by Office of the North Korean government press service / UPI
The United States, South Korea and Japan imposed new sanctions on North Korea over its illicit weapons programs in the wake of Pyongyang's latest intercontinental ballistic missile test. Photo by Office of the North Korean government press service / UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- The United States, South Korea and Japan imposed new sanctions on North Korea in the wake of the secretive regime's latest intercontinental ballistic missile launch.

The U.S. Treasury Department announced Thursday that it had sanctioned Jon Il Ho, Yu Jin and Kim Su Gil, North Korean government officials who "directly led DPRK organizations that are linked to the development of WMDs." The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is the official name of North Korea.

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"These actions follow the DPRK's unprecedented launch of over 60 ballistic missiles this year, including the test of several intercontinental ballistic missiles," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday. "These destabilizing actions pose grave security risks to the region and entire world."

Last month, North Korea fired an ICBM that landed roughly 130 miles off the coast of Japan and was estimated to have the range to reach the entire United States.

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Blinken said that the moves were made "in close coordination" with South Korea and Japan, whose governments also announced additional sanctions on Friday.

Seoul said that it sanctioned eight individuals, including a Singaporean and a Taiwanese, and seven organizations.

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The individuals were involved in transactions related to Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs, South Korea's foreign ministry said in a statement. The seven entities helped North Korea evade sanctions by various means including illicit ship-to-ship transfers of prohibited goods.

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Tokyo also designated three entities and one individual, its foreign ministry said, including the North Korean hackers known as the Lazarus Group.

Any ballistic missile activity by North Korea is prohibited under existing U.N. Security Council resolutions. However, U.S.-led efforts to impose new measures this year have been blocked by Russia and China, whom Washington recently accused of "enabling and emboldening" Pyongyang.

On Thursday, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Philip Goldberg called on Beijing and Moscow to play a "constructive role" in bringing North Korea back to the negotiating table.

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