US to slap new sanctions on NK soon
North Korean entities involved in illicit activities to be unveiled
By Kang Hyun-kyung
The United States will unveil the list of North Korean entities that have been involved in illicit transactions or activities in several weeks when it announces country-specific sanctions on Pyongyang, a U.S. official said Monday.
Robert Einhorn, U.S. State Department’s special advisor for nonproliferation and arms control, said in Seoul that the U.S. government was still working on finalizing the measures against the North.
“There are a number of legal and other questions that have to be resolved when the process of finalizing these new measures is made. I can’t give you the definite day but I believe it will be in the next several weeks,” he said in a press conference held at the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Compound in Namyeong-dong, Seoul.
The U.S. officials announced several key measures that the U.S. government will take with regard to the North’s illicit activities and financial transactions that serve proliferation.
The U.S. government will soon adopt and begin implementing new measures that will provide the United States with additional authority to target entities engaged in the export or procurement of conventional arms by or for North Korea, the procurement of luxury goods for North Korea and other illicit activities conducted by North Korean officials.
These activities include the counterfeiting of U.S. currency and other goods, narcotics smuggling, and other illicit and deceptive activities in the international financial and banking systems.
“We know that these activities bring hundreds of millions of dollars in hard currency annually into North Korea, which can be used to support North Korean nuclear or military programs or fund luxury goods purchases,” Einhorn said.
Einhorn arrived in Seoul Sunday to discuss sanctions against North Korea and Iran with senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance and the presidential office.
Daniel Glaser, treasury deputy assistant secretary in charge of terrorist financing and financial crimes, joined the delegation.
The U.S. officials from the state and treasury departments are scheduled to meet with officials from South Korea’s finance ministry Tuesday.
Their visit came after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a set of country-specific sanctions against North Korea at the “2+2” ministerial meeting in Seoul on July 21.
Earlier, experts questioned the effectiveness of fresh financial sanctions, saying North Korea would already have diversified their accounts after they learned a painful lesson from the Banco Delta Asia (BDA) case.
Glaser said new financial sanctions will be still effective.
“The real importance of the BDA was the impact that it had throughout the international financial system as banks throughout the world saw what happened in the BDA and decided that they were going to be very seriously re-examining the financial relationship with North Korea,” he said.
“Regardless of what specific authorities we were talking about, what packages of measures or what packages of sanctions we might decide to take, they are going to resonate throughout the international financial system.”