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U.S. sanctions N. Korea's ambassador to Myanmar for weapons proliferation

2015/11/14 02:00

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 (Yonhap) -- The United States imposed sanctions on North Korea's ambassador to Myanmar on Friday for involvement in Pyongyang's weapons proliferation efforts, the first time a sitting North Korean ambassador has been sanctioned.

The Treasury Department said it has added Amb. Kim Sok-chol to its Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN), along with three other North Koreans, Hwang Su-man, Kim Kwang-hyok and Ri Chong-chol, all of them linked to Korea Mining Development Trading Corp.(KOMID), accused of weapons proliferation.

The envoy operates as a KOMID facilitator, the department said.

"Today's action is designed to counter North Korea's attempts to circumvent U.S. and United Nations (UN) sanctions, as well as maintain the effectiveness of U.S. sanctions on individuals and entities that are linked to the North Korean Government's weapons of mass destruction procurement network," the department said.

Under the sanctions, any property or interest in property of the designated persons in the possession of U.S. persons or within U.S. jurisdiction must be frozen and transactions by U.S. persons involving the designated persons are generally prohibited, the department said.

"North Korea's continued violation of international law and its commitment to the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction pose a serious threat to the United States and to global peace and security," Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Adam J. Szubin said in the statement.

"Today's designations underscore our ongoing efforts to obstruct the flow of funds used to augment North Korea's nuclear capabilities," he said.

In addition to the four individuals, the U.S. also sanctioned EKO Development and Investment Co., a North Korean government entity located in Egypt, for helping KOMID market North Korean weapons systems to foreign countries, the department said.

jschang@yna.co.kr

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