USA sanctions two key figures in North Korea's weapons program

Dec 28, 2017, 00:45

The US has expanded sanctions against North Korea targeting two senior military officials, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) at the Department of the Treasury announced on Tuesday, Sputnik reported.

"Kim Jong-Sik reportedly is a key figure in North Korea's ballistic missile development, including efforts to switch from liquid to solid fuel, and Ri Pyong-Chol is reported to be a key official involved in North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile development", the Treasury statement said.

He said the country is suffering from a "degenerative disease of state" - in that their standing military is "rotting away" and pointed to increased defections to South Korea. The men are said to be key leaders of the country's missile program, which has already led to many sanctions. More significantly, banks are prohibited from transactions with them involving USA dollars, which includes a considerable number of worldwide transactions. North Korea has described the sanctions as an act of war.

The sanctions follow a U.N. Security Council resolution adopted Friday that imposes new, harsh sanctions in response to the country's November 28 ballistic missile launch. Security Council, which squeeze oil imports and call for countries to repatriate North Korean guest laborers within two years.

Despite the growing list of sanctions, Pyongyang has continued to test missiles.

Over the past few months Kim and U.S President Donald Trump also engaged in incessant verbal spat, with the latter branding the former as "rocket man", and the North Korean leader calling Trump a "mentally-deranged dotard" in response. In the wake of the North's first two ICBM tests in July and its sixth nuclear test in September, Trump threatened to unleash "fire and fury" and "totally destroy" the regime if necessary. He added that the move followed the UN Security Council (UNSC) passing another resolution on December 22, which imposed additional restrictions on Pyongyang over its recent missile test.

Friday's resolution requires United Nations member states to repatriate North Korean overseas workers within 24 months. It also prohibits the export of certain items including machinery, electrical equipment and wood.

SNEAKY Kim Jong-un is plotting to launch a new satellite that observers fear will be a "Trojan horse" for a secret nuclear missile test.

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