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EU sanctions NK entities for illegal missile buildup support

Dec. 13, 2022 - 15:01 By Ji Da-gyum

A TV screen shows an image of North Korea`s missile launch during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022. (AP)
The European Union on Monday levied sanctions on eight individuals and four entities, including North Korea’s Ministry of Rocket Industry and its subordinate trading company, for illegally providing support and funds for North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

The EU unveiled a new round of unilateral sanctions aimed at North Korea for the first time since this April in response to the Kim Jong-un regime’s record-breaking number of missile launches.

The EU said imposing additional restrictive measures was imperative “in light of the continued development of ballistic missiles” by North Korea contravening the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. North Korea launched at least 63 ballistic missiles from January to mid-November this year.

Among the sanctioned entities, the EU blacklisted North Korea’s Ministry of Rocket Industry, also known as the Rocket Industry Department, under the auspices of the Munitions Industry Department in charge of the development of nuclear and missile technology. The ministry was designated for “procuring finance and components for use in the development of missile and nuclear technology” prohibited by UNSC resolutions.

The Korean Rounsan Trading Corp., which is a subordinate company of the Ministry of Rocket Industry, was also designated by the EU for being “directly” involved in providing support for North Korea’s nuclear, ballistic-missile, and other weapons of mass destruction-related programs.

“The company is particularly involved in establishing joint ventures in the DPRK, promoting large-scale projects with Chinese companies, sending DPRK workers, and managing the procurement of large European equipment,” the EU said, using the acronym for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The EU also blacklisted two oil tankers -- Unica and New Konk -- for actively participating in “ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum and vessel identity laundering in order to effectively deliver refined petroleum” to North Korea in violation of the UNSC resolution 2397 adopted in December 2017.

The EU also added eight individuals — Kim Kwang-yon, Kim Su-il, Pak Kwang-hun, Kim Ho-kyu, Jong Yong-nam, Kil Jong-hun, Pyon Kwang-chol and O Yong-ho — to the blacklist.

Most of them live in foreign countries, including Belarus, China, Russia, and Vietnam, and provide funds and supplies for North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs in the capacity of a representative of the regional office of North Korea’s state-run agency or company.

For instance, Kim Ho-kyu, who serves as a deputy consul at North Korea’s Consulate General in Nakhodka, Russia, illegally rakes in funds in his capacity as a representative for Korea Ryonbong General Corp., according to the EU.

Kil Jong-hun, who had been under diplomatic status in Namibis, was blacklisted for “providing assistance in arms procurement for Equatorial Guinea” as a representative for the Korea Mining Development Trading Corp.

The EU has now imposed sanctions on a total of 73 individuals and 17 entities linked to North Korea’s nuclear and missile buildup. EU sanctions prohibit making further funds or economic resources available to blacklisted individuals and entities and include an asset freeze and a travel ban to the EU.

The EU’s designation came days after the US on Friday slapped a new set of sanctions on two individuals and eight entities, including the North Korean Ministry of State Security Border Guard General Bureau, in connection to human rights violations in North Korea.

The US and South Korea have imposed unilateral sanctions as a means to deter North Korea’s pursuit to advance missiles and nuclear weapons as the 15-member UN Security Council has failed to take any actions against North Korea’s unprecedented number of ballistic missile launches.

The US State Department on Monday reiterated that Washington will continue to use economic sanctions as a diplomatic tool to hold any individuals who support North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons development responsible.

“We have made very clear that we will continue to hold the DPRK to account for its threat to stability and security in Northeast Asia and potentially well beyond,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price told a press briefing. “If there are individuals who are appropriate for the use of sanctions, we won’t hesitate to do that.”