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US Announces New Sanctions on North Korean Banks and Banking Officials


Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin points to a reporter to take a question during the news briefing at the White House, in Washington, Aug. 25, 2017.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced new sanctions Tuesday targeting eight North Korean banks, as well as 26 DPRK banking officials.

The Treasury Department's release said the action "targets North Korean use of the international financial system to facilitate its WMD and ballistic missile programs."

"This further advances our strategy to fully isolate North Korea in order to achieve our broader objectives of a peaceful and denuclearized Korean peninsula," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. "This action is also consistent with United Nations Security Council resolutions."

Earlier this month the UN Security Council adopted a new round of economic sanctions against North Korea following Pyongyang's test of what may have been a hydrogen bomb.

If fully implemented, the new sanctions would cut a third of North Korea's oil imports, and reduce by more than half, the country's gas, diesel and heavy fuel oil imports, while completely banning the import of natural gas and other oil substitutes.

North Korea condemned the UN action, calling it a "full-scale economic blockade" that was aimed at "completely suffocating" the North Korean people.

The 26 North Korean nationals sanctioned Tuesday by the U.S. live abroad but work for North Korean banks. Nineteen are living in China, three are based in Russia and two each are living in Libya and the United Arab Emirates.

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