Top US lawmakers have welcomed the Trump administration’s decision slapping sanctions on Russian and Chinese entities and individuals for helping North Korea advance its missile and nuclear weapons programme. The yesterday’s sanctions targeted 10 Russian and Chinese companies and six individuals involved in conducting business with the reclusive nation. “I support strong sanctions against those enabling North Korea to advance its missile program, and I am pleased by the US Treasury’s action today,” Senator Joe Donnelly, Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on National Security and International Trade and Finance, said. “As I’ve said, North Korea should be our top national security priority in the Pacific and we must focus the full economic and diplomatic force of our nation on this problem and get other countries in the region to do the same,” said Donnelly, who recently helped the Senate pass bipartisan legislation, which Trump signed into law, that would increase sanctions on North Korea.
As a Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, he has led efforts to increase funding for US missile defence programmes and supported provisions in this year’s national defence bill to significantly strengthen the US homeland missile defence system against the threat of an intercontinental ballistic missile attack. “For far too long, China has enabled North Korea to pursue nuclear development, cyber warfare, global provocation, and egregious human rights violations. Russia has also not been a good faith partner on these issues. The status quo is no longer acceptable,” said Congressman Robert Pittenger. “Trump’s decisive action, coupled with my legislation to further punish businesses which support North Korean cyberattacks, sends a strong message. If you support the brutal North Korean regime, there will be a punitive response from the United States,” he said. Congressman Dan Donovan said the Trump administration’s strategic sanctions against companies and individuals that do business with North Korea are exactly what’s needed right now. “We must continue to isolate the regime, cut off its economic activity and pressure nations, particularly China and Russia, whose companies and citizens help the North generate the resources used to further its aggressive nuclear programme,” said Congressman Dan Donovan who serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Yesterday’s sanctions target third-country companies and individuals that assist already-designated persons who support North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, deal in the North Korean energy trade, facilitate its exportation of workers, and enable sanctioned North Korean entities to access US and international financial systems. Some of the prominent companies and individuals slapped with sanctions are China-based Dandong Rich Earth Trading Co; Mosco-based Gefest-M LLC and its director, Russian national Ruben Kirakosyan; and China- and Hong Kong-based Mingzheng International Trading Limited. As a result, any property or interests in property of the designated persons in the possession or control of US persons or within the United States must be blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them, the Treasury Department said in a statement. The Treasury also designated three Chinese coal companies collectively responsible for importing nearly half a billion dollars’ worth of North Korean coal between 2013 and 2016.