U.S. imposes North Korea-related sanctions on Russian, Chinese tech firms

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on a China-based tech firm, its North Korean CEO and a Russian subsidiary, accusing them of moving illicit funding to North Korea in violation of U.S. sanctions.

The new sanctions target China-based Yanbian Silverstar Network Technology Co, its North Korean chief executive Jong Song Hwa, and a Russian-based sister company, Volasys Silver Star, the U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement.

“These actions are intended to stop the flow of illicit revenue to North Korea from overseas information technology workers disguising their true identities and hiding behind front companies, aliases, and third-party nationals,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

Mnuchin warned companies across the globe “to take precautions to ensure that they are not unwittingly employing North Korean workers for technology projects.”

The Trump administration has maintained pressure on Pyongyang through sanctions in an effort to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, which are a threat to the United States.

President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June at a summit in Singapore where Kim agreed in broad terms to work toward denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. North Korea has however given no indication it is willing to give up its weapons unilaterally, as the Trump administration has demanded.

Washington has also accused Russia of violating U.N. sanctions on North Korea by granting work permits to North Korean laborers despite Russia’s denial of any such actions.

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