(Image: Yonhap News)
The United States added on Thursday two new companies to its list of entities subject to sanctions on North Korea aimed at cutting off funding for its nuclear weapons program.
The Department of Treasury said it imposed sanctions on Korea Cholsan General Trading Corporation, a North Korean enterprise based in Pyongyang that operates in Russia, and Mokran LLC, a Russian construction firm in St. Petersburg, for being involved in the exportation of "forced labor from North Korea."
"North Korea has a long history of exploiting its citizens by sending them to distant countries to work in grueling conditions in order to financially support Pyongyang and its weapons programs," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was quoted as saying.
The department said the latest action demonstrates its "continued commitment to the implementation and enforcement of U.S. and U.N. sanctions," adding that countries still hosting North Korean workers must send them home.
Both companies were also said to be engaged in "construction of other civil engineering projects" and posed the risk of "secondary sanctions" violations.
North Korea is said to be maintaining numerous covert operations, often disguised as legitimate businesses, to raise revenue and build up the its weapons development programs.
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