U.S. slaps fresh sanctions on DPRK bank, individuals

The Obama administration on Monday slapped fresh sanctions on a primary foreign exchange bank and four individuals in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) for their alleged role in the Asian country’s nuclear and missile programs.

The Department of Treasury blacklisted the Foreign Trade Bank ( FTB) in Pyongyang and Paek Se-Bong, chairman of DPRK’s Second Economic Committee (SEC), while the State Department moved against Pak To-Chun, Chu Kyu-Chang and O Kuk-Ryol, senior officials of the DPRK government.

“North Korea uses FTB to facilitate transactions on behalf of actors linked to its proliferation network, which is under increasing pressure from recent international sanctions,” David Cohen, the Treasury’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.

“The United States will take strong measures to protect its financial system from this type of illicit activity, and we urge financial institutions around the world to be particularly wary of the risks of doing business with FTB,” he added.

The Treasury described SEC, put under sanctions by the State Department in August 2010, as an institution that oversees the production of DPRK’s ballistic missiles and directs the activities of the Korea Mining Development Corporation, Pyongyang’s alleged premier arms dealer.

SEC’s chairman, Paek Se-Bong, is an alternate member of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) and a member of the country’s National Defense Commission, the Treasury said.

In another development, the State Department on Monday designated Pak To-Chun, Chu Kyu-Chang and O Kuk-Ryol for their alleged direct links to the country’s proliferation activities.

Pak To-Chun is head of the Munitions Industry Department and a full member of WPK’s Political Bureau as well as member of the National Defense Commission, Chu Kyu-Chang directs the Munitions Industry Department and is an alternate member of KWP’s Political Bureau, while O Kuk-Ryol is a vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, the State Department said.

The Treasury moved against China-based representatives of the Korea Mining Development Corporation and Tanchon Commercial Bank on Thursday, the same day the UN Security Council passed unanimously resolution 2094 condemning DPRK’s third nuclear test on Feb. 12.


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