The US Department of Treasury on Tuesday issued sanctions on eight banks and 26 individuals linked to North Korea’s financial networks in response to the country’s ongoing development of weapons of mass destruction. The individuals sanctioned are North Korean nationals operating in some foreign countries who act as representatives of DPRK banks, Xinhua quoted a statement issued by the US Treasury Department. As a result of the action, any property or interests of the designated persons in the US will be blocked.
“We are targeting North Korean (DPRK) banks and financial facilitators acting as representatives for North Korean banks across the globe,” said US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “This further advances our strategy to fully isolate North Korea in order to achieve our broader objectives of a peaceful and denuclearised Korean peninsula. This action is also consistent with UN Security Council Resolutions,” Mnuchin added.
The US Treasury Department said sanctions are being taken to complement the UN Security Council resolution adopted on September 11. The resolution imposed fresh sanctions on the DPRK over its nuclear test on September 3, targeting oil imports and textile exports. The sanctions came as DPRK and the US leaders were escalating their war of words.
US President Donald Trump tweeted over the weekend that North Korea’s top leader Kim Jong Un “won’t be around much longer,” which was interpreted by Pyongyang as a declaration of war. The White House later clarified the US had no intention of entering into armed conflict on the peninsula.
The row between the US United States and North Korea began earlier at the UN General Assembly when Trump said that the US would have no choice but to “totally destroy” the DPRK unless Pyongyang refrains from its nuclear tests and missile launches. DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho responded by calling Trump “mentally deranged.” North Korea conducted another medium-range ballistic missile test on September 15, just days after the council imposed fresh sanctions on the country over its nuclear test on September 3.