This package of sanctions, the third applied this year, was even supported by China, an ally of North Korea and considered an essential country to contain the Pyongyang government
The United States sanctioned two senior North Korean officials on Tuesday because of the country’s ballistic missile program, the Treasury Department reported, at a time when pressure on the Pyongyang government is increasing.
„The Treasury points to the leaders of the ballistic missile program, as part of our campaign of maximum pressure to asylum (to North Korea) and finish denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula,“ Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. release.
The two officials were on a list released Friday by the United Nations Security Council in the framework of a new resolution with sanctions against the Pyongyang regime, the Treasury said.
„Kim Jong Sik is singled out as a key figure in North Korea’s ballistic missile program, including the passage from liquid to solid fuels, and Ri Pyong Chol is also a key official involved in the development of North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles. „he added.
Missiles powered by solid fuel can be fired with very little preparation.
As a result of the sanctions, any assets that the two North Korean officials eventually own in the United States will be frozen. Commercial transactions with US citizens are prohibited.
Tensions between Pyongyang and Washington have increased this year, and the test of a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on November 28 marked an advance towards the possibility of threatening the United States with a nuclear attack.
On Friday, the UN Security Council approved a new sanctions package against North Korea, which restricts Pyongyang’s access to the international market for petroleum-based fuels.
This package of sanctions, the third applied this year, even received the support of China, an ally of North Korea and considered an essential country to contain the government of Pyongyang.
In response, North Korea classified the new sanctions as „an act of war“.
„We completely reject these new sanctions of the UN (…) as an open violation of our sovereignty and as an act of war that will destroy peace and stability in the Korean peninsula,“ the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The approval of this new sanctions package also motivated a telephone contact between the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, and the Russian Foreign Minister, Serguei Lavrov, to discuss the issue.
According to the Russian chancellery, the two governments „are united in the opinion that the North Korean missile projects violate the requirements of the UN Security Council.“
At the same time, Moscow noted that in that conversation Lavrov „stressed once again that it is unacceptable to deepen tensions on the Korean peninsula with the aggressive rhetoric of the United States towards Pyongyang.“
For the Russian government, it is necessary to „move from the language of sanctions to that of a negotiated process as quickly as possible“.