WASHINGTON – The Biden administration on Friday announced that it would impose sanctions on some Entrepreneurs and companies in Asia that officials say helps support North Korea’s military and weapons development.
The US government’s action comes amid rising tensions with North Korea, which has conducted missile tests 24 times this year, some with multiple launches.
On Monday, Pyongyang fired a medium-range ballistic missile on Japan; That missile flew 2,800 miles, the longest distance a North Korean weapon has ever traveled. The United States and South Korea fired missiles during an exercise Wednesday, and the Pentagon moved an aircraft carrier to an area east of North Korea.
“Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) continued ballistic missile launches with unprecedented speed, scale, and scope this year,” said Antony J. Blinken, US Secretary of State. known in a statement, using the official name of North Korea. “This year alone, it has launched 41 ballistic missiles. Six of these are intercontinental ballistic missiles.”
A spokesman for the US State Department said at a briefing on May 4 that North Korea has launched at least three intercontinental ballistic missiles this year, and Pyongyang has launched another one suspected of being an intercontinental ballistic missile. that category on May 25.
Importance of North Korea’s missile tests
US, South Korean and Japanese officials are preparing for a possible nuclear test by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. If North Korea does that, it will immediately become a crisis in Washington and capitals across Asia and raised global fear when Russian President Vladimir V. Putin threatened to use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war.
“We haven’t faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” President Biden said of Putin’s threats on Thursday at a Democratic fundraiser. owner in New York.
Some analysts say it is unlikely that Mr. Kim will conduct a nuclear test during the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which is scheduled to begin in Beijing on October 16. That proposal is important to Xi Jinping, China’s leader, who is expected to extend his term by five years. North Korea depends on China for economic and diplomatic support, although Kim also adheres to the ideology of self-sufficiency.
Biden administration officials have publicly said they are willing to negotiate with North Korea but have not received any diplomacy from Pyongyang. President Donald J. Trump has tried to negotiate directly with Kim, in Singapore and Hanoi, to get him to end his nuclear weapons program, but those efforts have failed.
Mr. Trump and President Barack Obama have imposed harsh sanctions on North Korea, and Mr. Biden has kept them in place. Some North Korea experts say the punishments have failed to change Pyongyang’s behavior and lead to greater suffering for ordinary North Koreans.
U.S. officials have said in recent years that a range of individuals and groups have tried to help North Korea evade sanctions, including with ship-to-ship transfers of energy products.
The penalties announced Friday are meant to punish such evasion. The Ministry of Finance said Singapore’s Kwek Kee Seng, Taiwan’s Chen Shih Huan and New Eastern Shipping Co., registered in the Marshall Islands, were involved in the ownership or management of the Courageous, a vessel that carried the carriage. refined petroleum to North Korea many times . The ship is known as the Sea Prima in most of its illegal activities.
The crew transferred products from ship to ship with North Korean vessels and had previously delivered to Nampo, North Korea, the Finance Ministry said.
The agency also imposed sanctions on Anfasar Trading and Swanseas Port Services, two Singapore-registered companies that it said acted on Kwek’s behalf.
In April 2021, the Ministry of Justice charge Mr. Kwek with conspiracy to evade economic sanctions against North Korea and conspiracy to launder money.