WASHINGTON: The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated five Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) individuals responsible for procuring goods for the DPRK’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile-related programs.
These actions are in line with U.S. efforts to prevent the advancement of the DPRK’s WMD and ballistic missile programs and impede attempts by Pyongyang to proliferate related technologies. They also follow the DPRK’s six ballistic missile launches since September 2021, each of which violated multiple United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs).
“Today’s actions, part of the United States’ ongoing efforts to counter the DPRK’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, target its continued use of overseas representatives to illegally procure goods for weapons,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “The DPRK’s latest missile launches are further evidence that it continues to advance prohibited programs despite the international community’s calls for diplomacy and denuclearization.”
The United States remains committed to seeking dialogue and diplomacy with the DPRK, but will continue to address the threat posed by the DPRK’s unlawful weapons programs to the United States and the international community.
DPRK WMD REPRESENTATIVES
OFAC designated a Russia-based DPRK national, Choe Myong Hyon, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13382 (“Blocking Property of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators and Their Supporters”) for having provided, or having attempted to provide, goods or services in support of the Second Academy of Natural Sciences (SANS). The SANS was designated by the U.S. Department of State on August 30, 2010, pursuant to E.O. 13382, and subsequently by the UN on March 7, 2013 for its involvement with or provision of support for the DPRK’s weapons programs. The SANS has subordinate defense-related procurement and proliferation entities that it uses to obtain commodities and technology to support the DPRK’s defense research and development programs. Choe Myong Hyon is a Vladivostok-based representative of a SANS-subordinate organization. In his role as a chief representative of a SANS-subordinate organization, Choe Myong Hyon has worked to procure telecommunications-related equipment from Russia for DPRK companies.
Today’s action also targets four China-based DPRK WMD representatives of SANS-subordinate organizations pursuant to E.O. 13382. Sim Kwang Sok is a Dalian-based chief representative who has worked to procure steel alloys for his DPRK headquarters. Kim Song Hun is a Shenyang-based representative who has worked to procure software and chemicals for the DPRK. Kang Chol Hak is also a Shenyang-based representative who has procured goods for his DPRK headquarters from Chinese companies. Pyon Kwang Chol is the deputy representative of a suspected cover company for a SANS-subordinate organization located in Dalian, where he was first assigned to work in 2014.
In a related action, the Department of State designated DPRK national O Yong Ho, Russian national Roman Anatolyevich Alar, and Russian entity Parsek LLC pursuant to E.O. 13382 for having engaged in activities or transactions that have materially contributed to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery by DPRK.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the individuals and entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within the United States (including transactions transiting the United States) that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.
In addition, persons that engage in certain transactions with the individuals or entities designated today may themselves be exposed to designation. Furthermore, any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction or provides significant financial services for any of the individuals or entities designated today could be subject to U.S. correspondent account or payable-through sanctions.