The U.S. has imposed new sanctions on Chinese and Russian individuals and firms for their alleged ties to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday slapped sanctions on ten entities based in China, Russia, Singapore and Namibia, as well as six individuals from Russia, China and North Korea. Five of the ten firms are Chinese, while four of the six individuals are Russian.
The department said the targeted individuals and companies are suspected of assisting people already sanctioned for their ties to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, dealing in the North’s energy trade, facilitating its exportation of workers, and enabling sanctioned North Korean entities to access U.S. and international financial systems.
This is the fourth round of unilateral sanctions the U.S. has put forward this year regarding North Korea.
The first and second sanctions focused on North Korean individuals and entities but since the third round, foreign companies and individuals have been targeted which is seen as the U.S. effectively adopting a secondary boycott for third-party entities dealing with Pyongyang.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned in a statement that the U.S. will continue to increase pressure on North Korea by targeting those who support the advancement of nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
U.S. sanctions on the North hereafter are expected to increasingly target parties and figures in China and Russia.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Justice Department filed a suit against three companies based in Singapore and China that allegedly laundered money for North Korean banks that are subject to U.S. sanctions. The department is seeking forfeitures of 11 million U.S. dollars from the firms.
The Chinese Embassy in the U.S. strongly protested against the new sanctions, saying it opposes unilateral sanctions outside the framework of the UN Security Council.
China warned that Washington should immediately correct its mistake to avoid damaging bilateral cooperation. Nonetheless, the latest sanctions are expected to put more pressure on China.