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US Sanctions Chinese, Russian, Singaporean Firms for North Korea Trading

North Korean soldiers salute as others bow before the giant bronze statues of late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong Il during the anniversary of the end of World War II and liberation from Japanese colonial rule in Pyongyang, North Korea Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018.

The U.S. on Wednesday sanctioned companies in China, Russia and Singapore it says were violating the trade embargo with North Korea, Washington's latest effort to keep pressure on Pyongyang to end its nuclear weapons development.

The U.S. Treasury accused China's Dalian Sun Moon Star International Logistics Trading Co., along with its Singapore-based affiliate, SINSMS Ltd., of falsifying documents to ease "illicit" shipments of alcohol and cigarettes into North Korea that netted the companies more than $1 billion a year.

The U.S. also said that Profinet Ltd. in Russia violated United Nations sanctions by providing port services to already-sanctioned North Korean-flagged ships involved in oil shipments at three eastern Russia ports. The company's director general was also blacklisted.

The sanctions freeze any assets they may have in the U.S. and blocks Americans from doing business with them.

In announcing the sanctions, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, "Treasury will continue to implement existing sanctions on North Korea, and will take action to block and designate companies, ports and vessels that facilitate illicit shipments and provide revenue streams" to North Korea. "Consequences for violating these sanctions will remain in place until we have achieved the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea."

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed at a June summit in Singapore with U.S. President Donald Trump to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, but there were no details about when and how that would occur. Since then, the U.S. and North Korea have engaged in further talks about ending Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, but no agreements have been reached.