The US has expanded its sanctions on North Korea, in response to what the US Treasury describes in its statement as North Korea’s “numerous provocations, particularly the recent cyber-attack targeting Sony Pictures Entertainment and the threats against movie theatres and moviegoers” and its “destabilising, destructive and repressive actions, particularly its efforts to undermine US cyber-security and intimidate US businesses and artists exercising their right of freedom of speech”.
The new Executive Order is designed to “further isolate key North Korean entities and disrupt the activities of close to a dozen critical North Korean operatives”. It denies designated persons access to the US financial system, and prohibits US persons from engaging in transactions or dealings with them. It designates 3 entities and 10 individuals on that basis, on the grounds that they are “officials of the Government of North Korea and the Workers’ Party of Korea” or are “owned or controlled by, or acting on behalf of” or have “provided material support for” the Government or Workers’ party. The entities are the Reconnaissance General Bureau (North Korea’s intelligence agency), the Korea Mining Development Trading Corp (said to be an arms dealer), and the Korea Tangun Trading Corp, which buys commodities and technology to support defense research.
Under previous US sanctions on North Korea imposed 2008, the US has already blocked transactions involving individuals and entities that help North Korea sell and buy arms, procure luxury goods, or engage in illegal activities such as money laundering and drug trafficking. People in the US are already prohibited from doing business with individuals and entities designated by the US Government.