United States President Joe Biden smiles as he greets South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol (L) and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the Trilateral Summit at Camp David in Maryland on Aug. 18. On Thursday, their three governments unleashed a slew of sanctions targeting North Korea over its weapons development programs. File Photo by Nathan Howard/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 1 (UPI) -- The United States, South Korea and Japan have unleashed punitive measures targeting North Korea's illegal weapons development program in the wake of the reclusive Kim Jong Un regime's second failed launch to put a spy satellite into orbit.
The ally nations separately imposed the sanctions on Thursday, a day after Pyongyang launched two ballistic missiles in what it called a tactical nuclear strike drill and a week after it failed its second attempt at launching a reconnaissance orbital into space.
The sanctions were independently imposed but done so in coordination, the U.S. Treasury said in a statement Thursday, stating the Biden administration was blacklisting two people, a North Korean and a Russian, and a Russia-based company accused of generating revenue for Pyongyang's weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.
Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tokyo hit three companies and four people, and South Korea said it was designating five people and one company.
While Tokyo's statement did not elaborate on the reasoning of its targets aside from being done in relation to the failed Aug. 24 satellite launch, Seoul said its targets, the Ryu Kyung Program Development Company and five of its officials, are involved in the development of unmanned armed equipment and the transmission of information technology manpower for Pyongyang.
It added that the six targets had not been hit with sanctions by any country before.
"Our government has made it clear that North Korea's provocation must come at a price," South Korea's ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement.
"Our government will continue to strengthen close cooperation with the international community, including the United States and Japan, so that North Korea can realize this fact and stop reckless provocations and come to denuclearization talks."
The announcement also marks the 11th time the administration of Yoon Seok-yeol has hit North Korea with sanctions since last October for a total of 54 people and 51 institutions designated.
The sanctions, which freeze assets of the designated individuals and companies, come as the allies' trilateral relationship has been steadily strengthening.
The relationship between South Korea and Japan, which has historically been frosty, has become stronger since March when Seoul announced plans to settle its forced labor dispute with Tokyo that goes back to Japan's occupation of the Korean Peninsula.
That same month, Seoul and Tokyo restore a shelved military intelligence-sharing pact.
South Korea and the United States has also strengthened their military alliance in the past year.
Last month, the leaders of the three countries held a summit in Camp David, where they agreed to share information on strategic issues and discuss opportunities for further cooperation, among other issues.