WASHINGTON—A United Nations panel has imposed new sanctions on North Korea as a penalty for its nuclear and missile tests, banning travel and freezing the assets of 10 people or firms linked to the country’s deadly weapons program.
The U.N. Security Council move follows a series of North Korean missile tests and its second detonation of a nuclear device. A Council resolution in June authorized the tougher sanctions.
State Department spokesman Robert Wood called the sanctions “a serious and credible response to the May 25 nuclear test.”
“The Committee made this decision by consensus, further demonstrating the international community’s unity and willingness to take concrete action to respond to the North Korean nuclear and missile threat,” he said.
Wood also urged Pyongyang to return to six-party talks aimed at eliminating its nuclear program.
Five individuals, five firms, and two weapons-related items are subject to the new sanctions regime, which marks an escalation in the Council’s bid to contain Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
The sanctions target three North Korean trading corporations, listed as Namchongang, Korea Hykosin, and Korea Tangun, as well as an Iranian-based company, Hong Kong Electronics, which is accused of moving millions of dollars for use toward North Korea's nuclear program.
They also target North Korea’s General Bureau of Atomic Energy.
The sanctions also target five North Korean individuals identified as Yun Ho Jin, Ri Je Son, Hwang Sok Hwa, Ri Hong Sop, and Han Yu Ro because of their involvement in North Korea's banned activities.
Ri Je Son and Hwang Sok Hwa are directors of North Korea's General Bureau of Atomic Energy. Ri Hong Sop is a former director of the country's top nuclear facility at the Yongybyon Nuclear Research Center.
Yun Ho Jin is described as director of the Namchongang Trading Corp., overseeing the import of items for uranium enrichment. Han Yu Ro is listed as director of Korea Ryongaksan General Trading Corp., involved in Pyongyang’s ballistic missile program.
These U.N. measures are the first to directly penalize members of the country’s elite.
Other countries are now banned from selling North Korea certain types of graphite or para-aramidfiber because they can be used to make parts for ballistic missiles.
The June resolution called for inspections of ships heading to or from North Korea if they are believed to be carrying goods connected to weapons of mass destruction. It also expanded the arms embargo against North Korea and further curbed its access to the international financial system.
Original reporting by Jung Min Roh and Ahreum Jung for RFA's Korean service. Korean service director: Insop Han. Written in English by Sarah Jackson-Han.