WASHINGTON - The U.S. government said on Thursday that it has slapped sanctions on several entities and individuals in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), following a UN resolution on the country's rocket launch in December.
"To implement our obligations pursuant to UNSCR 2087 and to impede the DPRK's illicit WMD (weapons of mass destruction) and ballistic missile programs," the U.S. government designated several entities and individuals "directly tied to North Korea's proliferation activities," said a statement issued by the State Department.
The State Department has designated "the Korean Committee for Space Technology (KCST), KCST senior official Paek Chang-Ho, and General Manager of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station Chang Myong-Chin," said the statement.
The Treasury Department announced on its website Thursday that it has targeted "Ra Ky'ong-Su, the DPRK-based Tanchon Commercial Bank (TCB) Representative to Beijing and Kim Kwang-Il, the TCB Deputy Representative to Beijing, and Leader (Hong Kong) International Trading Limited."
The sanctions prohibit these individuals and entities from engaging in transactions with any Americans, and freeze any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction.
The 15-member UN Security Council on Tuesday unanimously approved Resolution 2087 which requires the DPRK to comply with all relevant resolutions approved by the Security Council and not to use ballistic missile technology for any launch.
It also reiterated to seek a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the issues concerned and advocated the renewal of the six-party talks over the denuclearization issue on the Korean Peninsula.
On December 12 last year, the official KCNA news agency confirmed that the DPRK launched and orbited the second version of the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite.
Earlier in the day, White House spokesman Jay Carney called DPRK's plan to carry out a third nuclear test and more rocket launches as "needlessly provocative".
He told reporters at a press gaggle that any further nuclear test or rocket launches "would be a significant violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions."
"Further provocations would only increase Pyongyang's isolation, and its continued focus on its nuclear and missile program is doing nothing to help the North Korean people," Carney said.
In addition to the similar stance, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Thursday that the United States was "fully prepared" for a nuclear test by the DPRK.
Penatta added that Washington had "no outward indications" that DPRK will carry out a nuclear test imminently but he also cautioned that DPRK has the "capability" to conceal preparations for these tests.