U.S. hits Russian, Chinese firms for breaching N. Korea sanctions

by WorldTribune Staff, August 16, 2018

The U.S. Treasury Department on Aug. 15 announced new sanctions on a Russian port service agency which aided North Korean ships and a Chinese firm and its Singapore affiliate which sold alcohol and tobacco products to Pyongyang in breach of current U.S. sanctions.

A Chinese firm and its Singapore affiliate were sanctioned by the U.S. for shipping alcohol and tobacco products to North Korea. / Reuters

Russian-based Profinet Pte Ltd and its director general, Vasili Aleksandrovich Kolchanov, were sanctioned for providing port services on at least six occasions to North Korean-flagged ships, the Treasury Department said, according to a report by Reuters.

Kolchanov was personally involved in North Korea-related deals and interacted directly with North Korean representatives in Russia, the statement said.

China-based Dalian Sun Moon Star International Logistics Trading Co. Ltd and its Singapore-based affiliate SINSMS Pte. Ltd were sanctioned after taking in more than $1 billion a year by exporting alcohol and cigarette products to North Korea, the Treasury Department said.

“The tactics that these entities based in China, Singapore, and Russia are using to attempt to evade sanctions are prohibited under U.S. law, and all facets of the shipping industry have a responsibility to abide by them or expose themselves to serious risks,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.

The new sanctions mandate that no U.S. citizen can deal with any of those designated in the order, and any of their properties in the United States “must be blocked,” the Treasury Department said.

China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Beijing has always strictly enforced United Nations Security Council resolutions on North Korea and did not allow Chinese firms or individuals to engage in activities that violated them.

“At the same time, China’s position on opposing countries enacting unilateral sanctions on other countries and ‘long-armed jurisdiction’ is consistent and clear,” it added, without elaborating.

Chinese propaganda outlet Xinhua said the United States needed to back off pressuring North Korea if it was serious about wanting lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

“Washington should be reminded that the ‘maximum pressure’ approach on Pyongyang is not in keeping with the current situation on the Korean Peninsula and it needs to consider easing sanctions,” Xinhua said in a commentary.


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