December 2, 2016 / 3:57 PM / a year ago

U.S. sanctions North Korean companies, officials after nuclear test

FILE PHOTO - A North Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva October 2, 2014. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Friday blacklisted seven people and 16 North Korean companies for ties to the North Korean government or its nuclear and weapons programs, the U.S. Treasury said in a statement.

The measures come after North Korea conducted its fifth and largest nuclear test in September. The United States opposes the development of nuclear arms by North Korea and its missile program, but a U.S. policy of both sanctions and diplomacy has failed so far to dent North Korea’s aims.

Treasury blacklisted several individuals who it said were North Korean officials, including at the Ministry of Atomic Energy Industry, which oversees the nuclear program, and the Workers’ Party of Korea, the ruling party.

Three of the people it sanctioned on Friday were also named in a United Nations Security Council resolution passed unanimously on Wednesday that blocked their assets and instituted a travel ban, in addition to imposing new sanctions on North Korea aimed at cutting its export revenue.

“These sanctions aim to cut the flow of financial resources to North Korea and further counter the regime’s destabilizing and provocative behavior,” said Adam Szubin, the Treasury’s acting under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, in the statement. “From financial services to mining and energy, today’s action targets individuals and entities operating in key industries that support North Korea’s illicit activities.”

The companies sanctioned on Friday include Air Koryo, North Korea’s national carrier, and 16 aircraft it has an interest in, as well as six financial services companies, and companies which the U.S. Treasury said trade in North Korean metal, coal and minerals or supply North Korean laborers overseas.

U.S. President Barack Obama signed an executive order in March that targeted North Korea’s mining, transportation, energy, and financial services sectors, its trade in graphite, metal, and coal, and the revenue it earns from North Korean laborers abroad.

Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Tom Brown

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