US sanctions North Korean technology companies based in China, Russia

The two information technology companies are actually entities controlled by North Korea, the finance ministry said in a statement Tuesday that Russia-based company Volasys accused Silver Star, China-based China Silver Star and its CEO Young Song Hwa of violating US sanctions.

"These actions are intended to stop the flow of illicit proceeds to North Korea from overseas information technology workers who disguise their true identity and hide behind front companies, aliases and third-country nationals," said Finance Minister Steven Mnuchin in a statement.

He warned the IT industry, companies and individuals around the world to take precautionary measures to ensure that they do not unconsciously employ North Korean workers for technology projects by doing business with companies such as those that are today designated & # 39 ;.

The announcement of Thursday's sanctions is the last sign that the US is on the move to increase the pressure on Pyongyang to end its nuclear and ballistic missile program & # 39; s. Officials from the White House acknowledge that no progress has been made in the field of denuclearization, even if President Donald Trump considers a second summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un.
On Wednesday, the Pentagon said that the US and allies are days away from launching a new attempt to publicly expose North Korean violations of sanctions aimed at curbing its nuclear and missile program, # 2; defense officials to CNN.

Defense officials say that North Korea regularly uses "deceptive tactics to evade UN sanctions" with transfers from ship to ship, and while the US and allies have worked quietly to thwart that smuggling, the effort will now become more public in a attempt to "name and shame" Pyongyang and his enablers.

The US uses sanctions to put pressure on Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program, even if it continues with diplomacy.

"The United States will continue to fully enforce and implement sanctions until we have reached the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea," Mnuchin said Thursday.

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The UN Security Council has found that the income of North Korean workers abroad contributes to the country's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

The Treasury announcement said that North Korea is selling a range of IT services and products abroad, including website and app development, security software and biometric identification software with military and law enforcement requests. And it insisted on caution and warned companies to be aware that North Korean companies are using deceptive practices, disguising themselves by using front companies, aliases, and third-country nationals acting as facilitators.

Ryan Browne of CNN contributed to reporting.