Washington: US President Barack Obama has
slapped additional sanctions on North Korea aimed at choking
off the regimes arms trade and illicit business taken by the
The sanctions are specifically targeted against Office
39 - a secretive branch of the North Korean government that
manages slush funds and raises money for the leadership,
including by trafficking drugs.
These sanctions also targets North Korea`s
infrastructure for importing and exporting conventional arms
- Green Pine Associated Corporation and its parent, the
Reconnaissance General Bureau and the bureau`s commander,
Lieutenant General Kim Yong Chol.
Other entities include two trading firms, Korea
Taesong Trading Company and Korea Heungjin Trading Company,
that allegedly act on behalf of North Korean arms dealer KOMID
in deals involving Iran and Syria.
"The order gives the US government new authority to go
after the arms sales and goods procurement, money laundering,
counterfeiting of currency and other illicit financial
activities that enrich the highest echelons of the North
Korean government while the North Korean people suffer," Under
Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Stuart
Levey, said after Obama issued an executive order.
Noting that the world is well aware of North Korean
government`s record of illicit activity and its belligerent
behaviour, Levey said, the President decided that North
Korea`s continued provocative actions - such as its unprovoked
attack on the South Korean naval ship Cheonan in March of this
year which resulted in the ship`s sinking and the deaths of 46
sailors, its test of a nuclear device and missile launches in
2009, its violations of UN Security Council Resolutions 1718
and 1874, and its illicit and deceptive practises in
international markets - justify additional sanctions.
"The destructive course that North Korean government
is charting is facilitated by a lifeline of cash generated
through a range of illicit activities. North Korea`s
government helps maintain its authority by placating
privileged elites with money and perks, such as luxury goods
like jewelry, luxury cars and yachts," he said.
"Not only do these transactions contravene UN Security
Council Resolution 1718, they are unconscionable in light of
the fact that many of North Korea`s people live in dire
poverty," Levey said adding that the North Korean government
receives millions of dollars every year from arms sales that
are also outlawed by UN Security Council resolutions.
The North Korean government, he alleged, also benefits
from illicit activities such as drug trafficking,
counterfeiting of US currency and selling counterfeit
"All of this activity makes up a crucial portion of
the North Korean government`s revenues. These activities are
carried out by a global financial network that generates this
income and secures the luxury goods for the government of
North Korea. That network is addressed directly by the
President`s actions today," Levey said.
Asserting that these measures are not directed at the
people of North Korea, the Treasury official said the
financial measures are aimed at disrupting its efforts to
engage in illicit activities and its ability to
surreptitiously move its money by deceiving banks and
smuggling cash worldwide.
"By naming the individuals and entities involved in
these activities, we will be excluding them from any access to
the US financial system, and at the same time we will be
assisting responsible businesses and financial institutions
around the world that are trying to protect themselves from
illicit North Korean activities," he said.