New US North Korea sanctions target missile developers

The US has expanded sanctions against North Korea targeting two senior military officials, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) at the Department of the Treasury announced on Tuesday, Sputnik reported.

The UN Security Council unanimously voted to impose new sanctions on North Korea on Friday in response to its recent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test. The department says Kim Jong-sik, a veteran rocket scientist, is a key figure responsible for advancing the program to a point where the regime is successfully testing ICBMs capable of reaching the US mainland.

Tensions escalated between the two nations when earlier on September 15, North Korea fired an intermediate-range missile, which flew over Hokkaido Island in Japan before and swashed into the Pacific Ocean.

The Treasury Department said in a press release it has designated Kim Jong-sik and Ri Pyong-chol, both belonging to the Munitions Industry Department of the North's Workers' Party of Korea.

Already, the Treasury Department has added eight North Korean banks and more than two dozen North Korean nationals working in countries like China, Russia and Libya to its sanctions list.

Under the new sanctions, any property or interests in property of the two men within US jurisdiction are blocked, and transactions by USA persons involving the designated persons are generally prohibited, the statement said.

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North Korea said the move was "an act of war" and tantamount to a total economic blockade.

The phone call follows Lavrov's previous offer to step in and mediate the conflict between the United States and North Korea.

The sanctions last week limit North Korea to half a million barrels of petrol products and four million oil barrels a year. It passed unanimously with backing from China and Russian Federation, two veto-wielding council members that have traditionally been reluctant to increase sanctions on Pyongyang.

The latest move comes weeks after Pyongyang conducted an intercontinental ballistic missile test. The resolution adopted by the council also demands the repatriation of all North Koreans working overseas within 24 months.

A ban on exports of North Korean goods, such as machinery and electrical equipment.

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