U.S. targets Chinese and Russian firms with breach of North Korea sanctions

The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on a Russian port service agency and Chinese firms for aiding North Korean ships and selling alcohol and tobacco to Pyongyang in breach of US sanctions aimed at pressuring North Korea to end its nuclear programs.

The Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which administers sanctions, banned three shipping companies and one Russian national from the U.S financial system and froze any and all of their assets based in the country.

The Treasury accused China-based Dalian Sun Moon Star International Logistics Trading Co and its Singapore-based affiliate, SINSMS Pte., of falsifying documents to facilitate shipments of alcohol and cigarettes to North Korea.

In a statement on its website, the Treasury said the sanctions targeted "persons involved in facilitating illicit shipments on behalf of North Korea" and said the move was part of the United States commitment to "prevent financial flows" to North Korea's "unlawful WMD programs and activities" in accordance with UN Security Council decisions.

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Despite having opened direct talks with Pyongyang, Washington continues to enforce the embargo on trade with North Korea in order to put pressure on the country to end its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programme.

Also named was Profinet director general Vasili Aleksandrovich Kolchanov, whom the Treasury said "was personally involved" in deals with the North Koreans.

It comes as the USA continues to press for full compliance with worldwide sanctions against North Korea while it continues talks with the North on ending its nuclear program.

Profinet director general Vasili Aleksandrovich Kolchanov is also accused of personally orchestrating North Korea-related deals and coordinating with the North Korean representatives in Russian Federation.

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