U.S. sanctions Russian, Chinese firms for alleged North Korea links

Frederick Owens
September 16, 2018

Russian Federation and China have pushed for the Security Council to ease sanctions on Pyongyang after the summit in June between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

A North Korean national, Song Hwa-jong, was also sanctioned, Reuters reported, citing the statement.

"Russia can't be allowed to edit and obstruct independent United Nations reports on North Korea sanctions just because they don't like what they say", Haley said.

The department claims the companies are fronts for the North Korean government.

In the latest wave of punitive measures on Thursday, . the United States sanctioned two companies in China and Russian Federation for their alleged role in facilitating the North's nuclear weapons program and for allegedly helping the North send workers overseas.

"Treasury is once again warning the IT industry, businesses, and individuals across the globe to take precautions to ensure that they are not unwittingly employing North Korean workers for technology projects by doing business with companies like the ones designated today", he added.

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The Security Council has remained united in imposing tougher and tougher sanctions on North Korea, but the differences over the experts' report mark a first dent in that unity.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has maintained sanctions pressure on Pyongyang in an effort to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, which are a threat to the United States. North Korea has however given no indication it is willing to give up its weapons unilaterally, as the Trump administration has demanded.

On Wednesday, the Pentagon said the United States and allies are days away from launching a new effort to more publicly expose North Korean violations of sanctions aimed at curbing its nuclear and missile programs, two defense officials tell CNN.

A summary of the experts report obtained in early August by The Associated Press also said North Korea has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs.

According to an anonymous United Nations diplomat, the Russia "obtained the removal of the main part of the paragraphs", referring to the panel's original report that had named the Russian ships and entities accused of breaking U.S. sanctions.

The amended report removed some references to Russians accused of breaching sanctions on North Korea, said one diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity. "Period", Haley said in a statement.

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