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US sanctions Chinese and Russian entities for conducting business with North Korea

By CAROL MORELLO | The Washington Post | Published: August 22, 2017

As part of a broad effort to isolate North Korea, the Treasury Department on Tuesday placed sanctions on Chinese and Russian individuals and firms it said had conducted business with the country in ways that advanced its missile and nuclear weapons program.

The sanctions against 10 companies and six individuals are designed to disrupt the economic ties that have allowed Pyongyang to continue funding its missile and nuclear program despite strict United Nations sanctions prohibiting it.

China in particular has been sore point. Though Beijing has tried to restrict transactions and supported an escalating series of U.N. sanctions, many Chinese companies continue to do business with the regime by supplying technology and hardware for its missiles.

The sanctions announced Tuesday were predominantly against Chinese companies that have dealt with North Korea by purchasing and selling coal, oil and mineral resources, or provided banking services that made the transactions possible.

The sanctions also hit two companies that arranged for North Korean laborers to build statues in foreign countries. Overseas labor is a source of revenue for the North Korean government, and the Treasury Department contends some of the laborers' income helped finance the ballistic missile testing.

"Treasury will continue to increase pressure on North Korea by targeting those who support the advancement of nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and isolating them from the American financial system," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

"It is unacceptable for individuals and companies in China, Russia, and elsewhere to enable North Korea to generate income used to develop weapons of mass destruction and destabilize the region," he said.

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