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Hamish Macdonald is an NK News contributor and has previously worked at The Korea Herald and for the Australia Centre for Independent Journalism in Sydney.
The U.S. has unveiled new targeted sanctions against North Korean financial, energy, labor exportation and transportation operations, the Department of the Treasury announced on Friday.
The treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) latest blacklist includes seven North Korean officials, 16 entities and 16 aircraft and comes in response to the North’s fifth nuclear test in September this year.
“These sanctions aim to cut the flow of financial resources to North Korea and further counter the regime’s destabilizing and provocative behavior,” Adam J. Szubin, Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence said, according to an OFAC press release.
“Treasury will continue to use all of its financial tools to intensify the pressure on North Korea and those supporting the regime’s nuclear ambitions and WMD programs,” he added. The designations were made under Executive Orders 13382, 13687 and 13722.
North Korea’s only commercial airline, Air Koryo, 16 of its aircraft and its foreign offices are also included on the list. The press release identifies previously discovered cases of the airline’s involvement in a military parade and in transporting Scud-B missile parts, both in 2013.
These cases were detailed in the reports of the UN Panel of Experts (PoE) pursuant to Resolution 1718. According to OFAC, a private jet with an Air Koryo logo also transported leader Kim Jong Un, who is designated by the treasury for human rights violations.
North Korea’s Mansudae Overseas Projects (MOP), the Korea General Corporation for External Construction, Namgang Construction and Korea Rungrado General Trading Corporation are all listed for exporting North Korean labor overseas as a means of earning revenue for the Worker’s Party of Korea (WPK).
OFAC lists a reported 18 countries in which MOP operations were involved in this practice, 15 of them in Africa. MOP has also been linked in (PoE) reports for its involvement in military-related construction in Namibia, which was not mentioned in the OFAC listings.
For “operating in the financial services industry in the North Korea economy,” OFAC designated five North Korean banks and the Korean National Insurance Corporation (KNIC).
The OFAC press release further mentions reported links between KNIC and Office 39, a previously sanctioned entity that is tasked with earning hard currency for the regime’s leadership via illicit means.
Daewon Industries and the Kangbong Trading Corporation were sanctioned for their involvement in the sale or purchase of “metal, graphite, coal, or software, where revenue or goods received may benefit the Government of North Korea or the Workers’ Part of Korea.”
The Korea Oil Exploration Corporation was also sanctioned for working in North Korea’s energy industry and OFAC also said it has reportedly tried “to establish contracts with Iranian oil entities, in part to supply crude oil to two refineries in North Korea.”
The seven individuals designated were tied to North Korea’s Second Economic Committee, Second Academy of Natural Sciences, Korea Kumsan Trading Corporation, the Ministry of Atomic Energy Industry (MAIE) and the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID).
These entities are already designated by the U.S. and KOMID is also designated by the United Nations for being North Korea’s primary weapons dealer.