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Sanctions for trading with North

Aug 17,2018
The U.S. Treasury Department announced new sanctions on one individual and three organizations accused of being involved in facilitating illicit shipments on behalf of North Korea, keeping up pressure on the regime as the Donald Trump administration negotiates denuclearization.

The sanctions, relayed Wednesday in Washington by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, are against organizations based in China, Singapore and Russia and one Russian national. Their shipments, which violate sanctions already imposed by the United States and the United Nations, include alcohol, tobacco, cigarette-related products and refined oil.

The illicit cigarette trade in North Korea has reportedly delivered profits of over $1 billion to North Korea’s regime, according to the Treasury Department.

As a result of the sanctions, Americans are prohibited from doing business with the designated person and organizations. Any property or interests in property of the designated entities that’s possessed or controlled by an American, or is within the United States, are blocked.

“Treasury will continue to implement existing sanctions on North Korea,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, “and will take action to block and designate companies, ports and vessels that facilitate illicit shipments and provide revenue streams to the DPRK.” DPRK is short for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“The tactics that these entities based in China, Singapore and Russia are using to attempt to evade sanctions are prohibited under U.S. law, and all facets of the shipping industry have a responsibility to abide by them or expose themselves to serious risks.”

Mnuchin continued that consequences for violating these sanctions will remain in place “until we have achieved the final, fully verified denuclearization” of the North.

According to the department, China-based Dalian Sun Moon Star International Logistics Trading and its Singapore-based affiliate, SINSMS, worked together to facilitate illicit shipments to North Korea using falsified shipping documents, including exports of alcohol, tobacco and cigarette products.

Russia-based Profinet and its director general, Russian national Vasili Aleksandrovich Kolchanov, were accused of providing port services on at least six separate occasions to North Korea-flagged vessels, including two sanctioned vessels, which carried thousands of metric tons of refined oil products.

The Russian was personally involved in North Korea-related deals and interacted directly with North Korean representatives in Russia, the department mentioned.

As the Trump White House refuses to ease sanctions on the regime until it gives up its nuclear weapons, North Korea’s state newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, urged the South again on Thursday to distance itself from Washington, at one point threatening “irreversible results.”

“Sanctions and pressure aren’t compatible with improving ties,” an editorial in the newspaper read. Citing a part of the Panmunjom Declaration signed by the leaders of both Koreas on April 27 during their first summit, which reads that the two countries “affirmed the principle of determining the destiny of the Korean nation on their own accord,” the article said it was the “basic spirit” of the declaration not to rely on an external force.

“Issues pertaining to the improvement of North-South relations aren’t something that should be authorized by someone else,” said the report. “Doing so will only cause complexity.”

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]