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US imposes sanctions on 5 North Korean, Russian entities over Pyongyang's missile program

                                                                                                 An alleged test-firing of a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile from an undisclosed location in North Korea,<strong></strong> March 24, is seen in this photo distributed by the North Korean government. Yonhap
An alleged test-firing of a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile from an undisclosed location in North Korea, March 24, is seen in this photo distributed by the North Korean government. Yonhap

The United States has imposed fresh sanctions on five entities based in Russia and North Korea related to North Korea's missile program, the U.S. Department of State said Thursday (local time).

The move came after North Korea launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in over four years Thursday (KST), lifting its self-imposed moratorium on long-range missile testing that had been in place since late 2017.

"The United States today announced sanctions on five entities and individuals located in Russia and the DPRK, and one entity in the People's Republic of China (PRC) for proliferation activities under the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a press release.

DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name.

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The State Department spokesperson said sanctions were imposed against North Korea's Second Academy of Natural Science Foreign Affairs Bureau and one North Korean individual, Ri Sung-chol, "for transferring sensitive items to North Korea's missile program."

Two Russian companies and one Russian individual were also designated for the same reason, according to the spokesperson.

"These measures are part of our ongoing efforts to impede the DPRK's ability to advance its missile program and they highlight the negative role Russia plays on the world stage as a proliferator to programs of concern," Price said.

Sanctions were also imposed on one Chinese company for supplying Syria with equipment controlled by a chemical and biological weapons nonproliferation regime.

"These determinations underscore the continuing need for all countries to remain vigilant to efforts by North Korea and Syria to advance their proliferation programs of concern," Price said.

"We will continue to work to impede these programs and use our sanctions authorities to spotlight the foreign suppliers, such as these entities in the PRC and Russia that provide sensitive materials and technology to the DPRK and Syria." (Yonhap)

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