By Aldgra Fredly
The United States on Friday sanctioned two Russian banks, a North Korean trading company, and one individual for allegedly aiding North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, following Pyongyang’s 17th round of missile launches this year on May 25.
This comes after China and Russia vetoed the U.S. draft resolution on North Korea sanctions on Thursday. Russia called the resolution “a path to a dead-end,” while China said it may lead to “negative effects and escalation of confrontation.”
“We are taking these actions in response to [North Korea’s] ongoing development of its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs in violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions,” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said.
The U.S. Treasury Department said the latest sanctions targeted Russian financial institutions—Far Eastern Bank and Sputnik Bank—and North Korea’s Air Koryo Trading Corporation (AKTC).
AKTC was accused of providing support to Pyongyang’s Ministry of Rocket Industry, particularly in acquiring “various electrical components and dual-use goods, including transistors and hydraulic system components.”
Far Eastern Bank allegedly provided financial support to Air Koryo, the national airline of North Korea, while Bank Sputnik was suspected of assisting the North’s Foreign Trade Bank (FTB) and holding a Russian ruble account for FTB’s front firm, Korea Ungum Corporation.
Washington also sanctioned Jong Yong Nam, a Belarus-based representative of an organization subordinate to North Korea’s Second Academy of Natural Sciences, which Washington had previously designated in 2010.