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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 UN Security Council’s (UNSC) 1718 Committee has adopted new North Korea related designations against one individual, 21 entities, and 27 ships on Friday after a proposal was submitted by the U.S. the day prior.
Of the 21 entities proposed and accepted for designation, the vast majority are based in the DPRK, but the U.S. is also proposing that three entities from Hong Kong, two from China, and one each from Panama, Samoa, the Marshall Islands, and Singapore also be designated.
“The approval of this historic sanctions package is a clear sign that the international community is united in our efforts to keep up maximum pressure on the North Korean regime,” U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in an accompanying press release.
“We want to thank the members of the Security Council, as well as Japan and South Korea, for working with us to keep up the pressure and for their commitment to implementing UN Security Council resolutions and holding violators accountable.”
The designations primarily relate to DPRK sanctions evasion occurring on the high seas, with justifications in the proposed document referring to prohibited ship-to-ship transfers, fuel acquisitions, and the transfer of banned North Korean coal.
The designations are the result of a U.S. proposal submitted to the Committee on Thursday. NK Pro, which obtained the proposal, exclusively reported the details prior to their adoption on Friday.
Six entities and seven vessels among those designated were identified as being involved in coal exports, while a total of 14 other entities and 17 vessels were designated for having either engaged in or likely engaged in prohibited ship-to-ship transfers, mainly involving oil products.
The remaining vessels are listed as having been “involved illicit transfers of prohibited North Korean goods.”
In total 13 North Korean vessels are now subject to asset freezes and a Global Port Entry ban, with a further two receiving just asset freezes. The remaining 12 non-DPRK vessels are also subject to Global Port Entry bans and deflagging.
The only individual on the proposed list is a Taiwanese national named Tsang Yung Yuan.
“Tsang Yung Yuan has coordinated North Korean coal exports with a North Korean broker operating in a third country, and he has a history of other sanctions evasion activities,” the original U.S. submission read.
Companies owned or operated by Tsang are also designated, including the Samoa-based Pro-Gain Group Corporation and the Marshall Islands-based Kingly Won International Co., Ltd.
Pro-Gain and its vessels are accused of being involved in coal exports, while Kingly Won has been implicated in the fuel trade.
“In 2017, Tsang Yung Yuan (aka Neil Tsang) and Kingly Won attempted to engage in an oil deal valued at over $1 million with a petroleum company in a third country to illicitly transfer to the DPRK,” the proposal read.
“Kingly Won acted as a broker for that petroleum company and a Chinese company that reached out to Kingly Won to purchase marine oil on its behalf,” it added, though the Chinese company has not been mentioned.
The designations and the U.S. proposal closely resemble unilateral designations adopted on February 23 by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which covered 27 entities, 28 ships, and one individual.
In total 23 of the 27 vessels designated on Friday were sanctioned in that round of measures imposed by OFAC in February, with all of the 21 entities proposed for multilateral sanctions having been designated by Treasury on the same date.