United States sanctions NKorean IT companies in China, Russia

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The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned a Chinese tech firm, its Russian sister company and the CEO on Thursday.

In the months following a June summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, reports from the Chinese and Russian borders with the North have shown indications of an uptick in underground cross-border commerce.

Russian Federation has said the U.S. had acted without evidence on the basis of groundless accusations. Sanctions were toughened last time on December 22 of the past year.

"These actions are meant 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. Agence France-Presse reported that diplomatic sources at that time also said Russia blocked a USA request that two Russian shipping companies and six of their vessels be sanctioned over oil shipments to the North.

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The UN Security Council has noted that revenue generated from North Korean workers overseas contributes to the country's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

The United States imposed sanctions on a China-based tech firm, its North Korean chief executive and a Russian subsidiary, accusing them of moving illicit funding to North Korea in violation of USA sanctions, Reuters reports.

United Nations diplomats familiar with discussions said Russian Federation was angered that the panel used a lot of USA intelligence in the initial report that Moscow claimed was incorrect.

At the end of August, Russia blocked publication of the report because it disagreed with findings that Pyongyang had exceeded a 2018 import limit for oil set by the sanctions imposed in 2017, the diplomat said.

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The United States said that the companies targeted are also linked to the organizations involved in North's weapons program.

According to an anonymous United Nations diplomat, the Russia "obtained the removal of the main part of the paragraphs", referring to the panel's original report that had named the Russian ships and entities accused of breaking USA sanctions. "Period", Haley said in a statement. "The full implementation of U.N. Security Council resolutions remains mandatory for all member states - including Russian Federation".

The Russian news agency TASS quoted Russia's U.N. Mission as saying the proposed sanctions were "unjustified".

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