US imposes sanctions on three North Korea officials after ICBM test

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The US on Thursday imposed sanctions on three senior North Korean officials connected to the country's weapons programs after Pyongyang's latest and largest intercontinental ballistic missile test last month.

The US Treasury Department named the individuals as Jon Il Ho, Yu Jin, and Kim Su Gil, all of whom were designated for sanctions by the European Union in April.

The latest sanctions follow a Nov. 18 ICBM test by North Korea and amid concerns that it may be about to resume nuclear bomb testing suspended since 2017.

A Treasury statement said Jon Il Ho and Yu Jin played major roles in the development of North Korea's weapons of mass destruction while serving as vice director and director, respectively, of the North Korea's Munitions Industry Department.

It said Kim Su Gil served as director of the Korean People's Army General Political Bureau from 2018 to 2021 and oversaw the implementation of decisions related to the WMD program.

“Treasury is taking action in close trilateral coordination with the Republic of Korea and Japan against officials who have had leading roles in the DPRK's unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programs,” Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in the statement.

“Recent launches demonstrate the need for all countries to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions, which are intended to prevent the DPRK from acquiring the technologies, materials, and revenue Pyongyang needs to develop its prohibited WMD and ballistic missile capabilities.”

DPRK are the initials of North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The sanctions freeze any US-based assets of the individuals and bars dealing with them.

Decades of US-led sanctions have failed to halt North Korea's increasingly sophisticated missile and nuclear weapon programs, and China and Russia have blocked recent efforts to impose more United Nations sanctions, saying they should instead be eased to jumpstart talks and avoid humanitarian harm.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said earlier that Washington was committed to using pressure and diplomacy to entice North Korea into giving up its nuclear arsenal.

Sullivan said the administration has no illusions about the challenges, but that the US remained committed to holding North Korea accountable.

The last round of US sanctions in October targeted two Singapore-registered companies and a Marshall Islands-registered firm that Washington said support Pyongyang's weapons programs and its military.

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