Moving Up the Ranks: U.S. Gets Tough on North Korea Illegal Arms Trade

By April Kent

The United States Treasury on Friday announced that it has imposed sanctions on four North Koreans, including the ambassador to Myanmar, and a North Korea-owned company based in Egypt, over connections to North Korea’s illicit weapons trade. All have ties to the Korea Mining Development Trading Corp., which U.S. officials have labeled Pyongyang’s “primary arms dealer.” It is hoped that the sanctions would obstruct North Korea’s funding for expansion of nuclear capabilities and weapons of mass destruction. Adam Szubin, the Treasury Under Secretary, stated “North Korea’s continued violation of international law and its commitment to the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction pose a serious threat to the United States and to global peace and security.” Although the U.S. has taken similar actions many times against North Korea, sanctioning an ambassador is unusual, demonstrating a more robust stance by the U.S.