Seoul, Jan 13 (IANS): The US has announced that it sanctioned six North Korean individuals related to Pyongyang's ballistic missile programmes and weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
The Department of Treasury said on Wednesday it is designating five North Korean individuals -- one based in Russia and four in China -- for illegally procuring materials for the North's WMD and ballistic missile programs, Yonhap News Agency reported on Thursday.
The State Department is also designating an additional North Korean individual based in Russia for a similar reason.
"Today, the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated five Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) individuals responsible for procuring goods for the DPRK's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile-related programs," the Department said in a statement, referring to North Korea by its official name.
"These actions are in line with US efforts to prevent the advancement of the DPRK's WMD and ballistic missile programs and impede attempts by Pyongyang to proliferate related technologies. They also follow the DPRK's six ballistic missile launches since September 2021, each of which violated multiple UN Security Council Resolutions," it added.
North Korea claims to have successfully test fired a new hypersonic missile last September, a second on January 5 and a third earlier this week.
State department spokesperson Ned Price said the designations sought to constrain North Korea's weapons programs.
"These are important these are important measures to constrain North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programme," he said in a press briefing.
"It's important that the international community send a strong unified message that the DPRK must hold provocations, it must abide by its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions and engage in sustained intensive negotiations."
North Korea has boycotted denuclearization negotiations since late 2019.