Washington — The Trump administration on Tuesday imposed sanctions on 16 mainly Chinese and Russian companies and people for assisting North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs and helping the North make money to support those programs.
The penalties are intended to complement new U.N. Security Council sanctions and further isolate North Korea for its nuclear and missile tests amid heightened tensions that have led to threats from both sides, the Treasury Department said in a statement.
The 16 affected entities either do business with previously sanctioned companies and people, work with the North Korean energy sector, help it place workers abroad or facilitate its evasion of international financial curbs.
The measures block any assets the entities may have in U.S. jurisdictions and bar Americans from transactions with them.
"It is unacceptable for individuals and companies in China, Russia, and elsewhere to enable North Korea to generate income used to develop weapons of mass destruction and destabilize the region," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.
"We are taking actions consistent with U.N. sanctions to show that there are consequences for defying sanctions and providing support to North Korea, and to deter this activity in the future."
Among those sanctioned are six Chinese companies, including three coal companies, and two Singapore-based companies that sell oil to North Korea and three Russians that work with them.
The list also included a Russian company that deals in North Korean metals and its Russian director; and two Namibia-based companies.
In addition to the Treasury sanctions, the Justice Department filed suit against two of the companies, Velmur Management of Singapore and China's Dandong Zhicheng Metallic Material Co., demanding that they forfeit more than $11 million that they allegedly money-laundered for North Korea.
The suits allege that the two companies participated in schemes to launder U.S. dollars on behalf of sanctioned North Korean entities.
The suits seek almost $7 million from Velmur and just over $4 million from Dandong, the Justice Department said.