The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday imposed sanctions on individuals and companies that it accused of illicitly generating revenue for the government of North Korea.
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, sanctioned Chilsong Trading Corporation, which it says is used by North Korea to earn foreign currency and collect intelligence; and Korea Paekho Trading Corporation, which is accused of generating funds for the North Korean government since the 1980s by conducting art and construction projects throughout the Middle East and Africa.
OFAC also sanctioned two individuals — Hwang Kil Su and Pak Hwa Song — for helping the North Korean government generate revenue, the Treasury Department said in a statement.
The department said the individuals established a company named Congo Aconde SARL in the Democratic Republic of Congo to earn revenue from construction and statue-building projects with local governments.
Last week, state media said North Korea test-fired four strategic cruise missiles during a drill designed to demonstrate its ability to conduct a nuclear counterattack against what it calls hostile forces.
North Korea’s “unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs threaten international security and regional stability,” Brian Nelson, Treasury’s top sanctions official, said Wednesday.
“The United States remains committed to targeting the regime’s global illicit networks that generate revenue for these destabilizing activities,” he added.
Last month, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, standing alongside his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, urged countries to step up enforcement of sanctions against North Korea in response to its latest ballistic missile launch.
North Korea has forged ahead in developing and mass-producing new missiles, despite sanctions imposed by United Nations Security Council resolutions that ban the nuclear-armed country’s missile activities.
U.S. and South Korean officials recently took part in a tabletop, or simulated, exercise that focused on the possibility of North Korea using a nuclear weapon.