US Imposes Sanctions on N. Korean IT Firms

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Sister technology firms, Jilin-based China Silver Star and Vladivostok-based Volasys Silver Star, were Chinese and Russian in name only and acted as front companies for North Koreans, the US Treasury Department alleged in a press release on Thursday.

The Treasury Department said that it blacklisted Russia-based company Volasys Silver Star, China-based China Silver Star and its CEO Jong Song Hwa for violating US sanctions.

"The regime's state-run Korean Central News Agency on Thursday put up commentary by a researcher at its foreign ministry who said that the hacker the US sanctioned does not exist, and that North Korea had nothing to do with the crime". This article is strictly for informational purposes only.

On Wednesday, the Pentagon said the United States and allies are days away from launching a new effort to more publicly expose North Korean violations of sanctions aimed at curbing its nuclear and missile programs, two defense officials tell CNN.

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"We're disappointed in the panel for caving to Russian pressure and making changes to what should be an independent report", Haley added, noting that it was a "dangerous precedent".

South Korea's foreign ministry says it sees the move as reflecting Washington's stance that sanctions must be enforced alongside dialogue in order to achieve the Peninsula's complete denuclearization.

Haley said Russian interference "sets an unacceptable precedent that damages the sanctity of the United Nations independent panel reporting process".

A draft United Nations experts' report, which was seen by Kyodo News in early August, pointed out that North Korea has continued with its nuclear programs in breach of United Nations bans. "Period", Haley said in a statement. The Security Council has to agree by consensus on whether to publish the report and the United States objected to releasing the amended document.

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Speaking on condition of anonymity, one diplomat said the amended report removed some references to Russians accused of breaching North Korea sanctions.

The Russian news agency TASS quoted Russia's U.N. Mission as saying the proposed sanctions were "unjustified".

"These actions are meant to stop the flow of illicit revenue to North Korea from overseas information technology workers disguising their true identities and hiding behind front companies, aliases, and third-party nationals", Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Thursday.

The dispute between Russian Federation and the United States as well as Western and other Security Council members has delayed the official release of the six-month report by the expert panel monitoring sanctions against North Korea.

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