The United States Department of Treasury recently announced that they will be putting sanctions on a Russian port service agency and two Chinese firms for their role in violating U.S. sanctions on North Korea.
The violation comes amid the U.S. maintaining a high-pressure campaign on North Korea until their denuclearization is complete and verified.
The U.S. Treasury said in a statement on Wednesday that China-based Dalian Sun Moon Star International Logistics Trading Co. Ltd and its Singapore-based affiliate SINSMS Pte. Ltd had netted more than $1 billion a year by exporting alcohol and cigarette products to North Korea.
The department also sanctioned Russian-based Profinet Pte Ltd and its director general, Vasili Aleksandrovich Kolchanov, for providing port services on at least six occasions to North Korean-flagged ships.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said these companies showed a disregard for the sanctions but “have a responsibility to abide by them.”
“The tactics that these entities based in China, Singapore, and Russia are using to attempt to evade sanctions are prohibited under U.S. law, and all facets of the shipping industry have a responsibility to abide by them or expose themselves to serious risks,” Mnuchin said.
As a result of the Russian and Chinese misdeeds, and the subsequent sanctions against them, no U.S. citizen can be in business dealings with the various firms. Any and all properties in the U.S. belonging to the firms will be “blocked,” according to the Treasury.
China’s Foreign Ministry has denied violating any international sanctions but clarified they do not recognize “unilateral” sanctions.
China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Beijing has always strictly enforced United Nations Security Council resolutions on North Korea and did not allow Chinese firms or individuals to engage in activities that violated them.
“At the same time, China’s position on opposing countries enacting unilateral sanctions on other countries and ‘long-armed jurisdiction’ is consistent and clear,” it added, without elaborating.
The state-sponsored news agency in China cautioned the U.S. from continuing their high-pressure campaign against North Korea.
“Washington should be reminded that the ‘maximum pressure’ approach on Pyongyang is not in keeping with the current situation on the Korean Peninsula and it needs to consider easing sanctions,” the outlet said.
The Russian port company similarly denied violating an international sanction and said the new sanctions against their company are illegal:
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday that the United States had acted without evidence on the basis of groundless accusations when imposing sanctions on the Russian company.
Moscow was working on retaliatory measures, added Ryabkov, saying the Russian leadership would decide whether to hit back.
Vasili Kolchanov, the head of the port services agency affected, told Reuters he had worked with North Korean vessels as a transport agent, but said the sanctions against him and his firm were illegal.
“It’s not our concern who fuels the vessels, who sells that fuel, who they buy the cargo and oil products from,” the port services agency head said. “We do not load vessels. As an agent, I only need to check that they have permission from customs.”
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
North Korea Sanctions in August:
→ Aug 3: Treasury targeted a Russian bank for facilitating a transaction on behalf of a sanctioned North Korean individual
→ Aug 15: Treasury targeted firms in China, Russia and Singapore for violating the trade embargo with North Korea pic.twitter.com/9gBCxWci8k
— Fox News Research (@FoxNewsResearch) August 16, 2018