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16 September 2018, 12:31 | Erica Roy
US Imposes Sanctions on N. Korean IT Firms
The United States has accused Russian Federation of altering an independent United Nations report to cover up Moscow's alleged violation of UN sanctions on North Korea.
The Trump administration blacklisted two North Korean-controlled information technology companies based in China and Russian Federation on Thursday as it pushed for progress by Kim Jong Un's government on denuclearization. It comes as the U.S. is redoubling efforts to pressure North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.
The department claims the companies are fronts for the North Korean government.
Washington has also accused Russian Federation of violating United Nations sanctions on North Korea by granting work permits to North Korean laborers despite Russia's denial of any such actions.
Amid such reporting, President Trump has suggested repeatedly, in interviews and via twitter, that China has been relaxing its enforcement of sanctions enacted before his summit with Kim.
A summary of the experts' report obtained in early August by The Associated Press also said North Korea has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs.
Russian Federation "obtained the removal of the main part of the paragraphs" concerning it, a diplomat said, speaking anonymously.
On Wednesday, the Pentagon said the U.S. and allies are days away from launching a new effort to more publicly expose North Korean violations of sanctions aimed at curbing its nuclear and missile programs, defence officials tell CNN. The Security Council has to agree by consensus on whether to publish the report and the USA objected to releasing the amended document.
The Department of the Treasury also sanctioned a North Korean individual in the latest set of sanctions aimed at denuclearizing the regime.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, one diplomat said the amended report removed some references to Russians accused of breaching North Korea sanctions.
Meanwhile, South Korea's foreign ministry said that the latest USA sanctions appear to reflect Washington's belief that both sanctions and dialogue are important in achieving the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. MsHaley called for the initial version of the report - dating from early August - to be published.
The US has been using sanctions to maintain pressure on Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program, even as it continues to engage in diplomacy.