Country blacklists Russian, Chinese companies for breaking North Korea embargo

Pressured by sanctions a North Korean ship passes in front of the waterfront of the Chinese border city of Dandong

The United States imposed sanctions on a Russian port service agency on Wednesday for aiding North Korean ships in breach of US sanctions aimed at pressuring Pyongyang to end its nuclear programs.

The Treasury blacklisted Profinet Pte. for providing port services like loading and refueling to sanctioned North Korean-flagged ships at three eastern Russian ports.

"The US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today announced North Korea-related designations, continuing the implementation of existing United Nations and US sanctions", the release said.

Dailan and SINSMS are accused of helping North Korea import alcohol, tobacco and cigarette-related products by using falsified shipping documents and advising the Kim regime on how to evade shipping restrictions.

The Department of the Treasury announced the designations of a Chinese business, its Singapore-based affiliate, a Russian firm and its director general, whose dealings in the US and with American citizens must be blocked.

Also named was Profinet director general Vasili Aleksandrovich Kolchanov, whom the Treasury said "was personally involved" in deals with the North Koreans.


Pundits see such continued pressure as signs that the North and the U.S. may sit down for denuclearization talks soon, . including another visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Pyongyang.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the tactics these Chinese and Russian entities used to attempt to evade sanctions are prohibited under USA law.

Mnuchin said the designations will remain in place until the fully verified denuclearization of North Korea has taken place.

On August 10, three South Korean business firms had smuggled 35,038 tons of North Korean coal and pig iron worth 6.6 billion won (USD 5.86 million) between April and October past year.

As the Trump White House refuses to ease sanctions on the regime until it gives up its nuclear weapons, North Korea's state newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, urged the South again on Thursday to distance itself from Washington, at one point threatening "irreversible results".

The new penalties are the Treasury Department's latest effort to punish North Korea's economic benefactors as the Trump administration attempts to cement a nuclear disarmament deal with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's government.

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