U.S. will not hesitate to sanction anyone supporting N. Korea's weapons programs: State Dept.
By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 (Yonhap) -- The United States will not hesitate to impose sanctions on any individuals who support North Korea's illegal weapons development programs, a state department spokesperson said Monday.
Ned Price also said the U.S. is always looking for individuals who may be held accountable for North Korea's illegal weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs.
"We are always looking for individuals who would be appropriate to sanction under our various authorities, including those authorities that are targeted at the DPRK's ballistic missile program, its nuclear weapons program, its WMD program," the department press secretary said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Price made the remark when asked why the U.S. was not sanctioning more Chinese and Russian individuals who support North Korea's weapons development programs.
"If there are individuals who are appropriate for the use of sanctions, we won't hesitate to do that," he said.
Washington has designated a number of Chinese nationals and entities, as well as those from Russia, for violating U.S. and United Nations sanctions aimed at curbing North Korea's illegal weapons development programs.
Pyongyang, however, continues to advance its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities, according to U.S. officials who have noted the country has fired a record 63 ballistic missiles this year alone. The previous annual record of ballistic missiles launched by the impoverished North was at 25.
"We have made very clear that we will continue to hold the DPRK to account for its threat to stability and security in Northeast Asia and potentially well beyond," said Price.
The U.S. sought to impose fresh U.N. sanctions on North Korea for its continued missile provocations, but all 10 U.N. Security Council meetings held this year on North Korea ended without any tangible outcome due to opposition from China and Russia, both veto power-wielding permanent members of the Security Council that are friendly to North Korea.
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