- The U.S. announced it is sanctioning three people for their work in developing weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile-related programs for North Korea.
- The sanctions follow renewed North Korean ballistic missile tests.
- So far this year, North Korea has launched eight intercontinental ballistic missiles and carried out 60 ballistic missile tests.
WASHINGTON – The Biden administration announced Thursday that it is sanctioning three people for their work in developing weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile-related programs for North Korea.
The Treasury Department designated Workers' Party of Korea officials Jon Il Ho, Yu Jin and Kim Su Gil for their "major roles in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's development of weapons of mass destruction." Treasury added that these officials "personally attended numerous ballistic missile launches since at least 2017."
The Biden administration said that the sanctions were coordinated with South Korea and Japan. Thursday's sanctions follow a similar move taken by the European Union in April.
"Recent launches demonstrate the need for all countries to fully implement U.N. Security Council resolutions, which are intended to prevent the DPRK from acquiring the technologies, materials, and revenue Pyongyang needs to develop its prohibited weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile capabilities," said Brian Nelson, Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, in a release.
The sanctions follow renewed North Korean ballistic missile tests. So far this year, Pyongyang has launched eight intercontinental ballistic missiles and carried out 60 ballistic missile tests.
In October, North Korea fired multiple ballistic missiles. One of those traveled 2,800 miles, a distance that puts the U.S. territory of Guam within its trajectory, before splashing down into the Pacific Ocean.
The provocative Oct. 5 test prompted late-night calls from White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan to his Japanese and South Korean counterparts. President Joe Biden condemned the missile test in a phone call with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and discussed ways to "limit North Korea's ability to support its unlawful ballistic missile and weapons of mass destruction programs," according to a White House readout of the call.
The test, the first in five years to fly over Japan, was answered with a volley of U.S. and South Korean missiles. At the time, the Pentagon said that the four missiles were launched into the waters off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula.
Under Kim Jong Un, the reclusive state has conducted its most powerful nuclear test, launched its first-ever intercontinental ballistic missile and threatened to send missiles into the waters near Guam.
Since 2011, Kim has launched more than 100 missiles and conducted four nuclear weapons tests, which is more than what his father, Kim Jong Il, and grandfather, Kim Il Sung, launched over a period of 27 years.