US sanctions Russian source of North Korea’s ballistic missile tech

One day after dictator Kim Jong Un observed a missile test that the regime touted as a hypersonic breakthrough, President Joe Biden's administration accused a Russian company of furnishing North Korea with ballistic missile technology.

"These designations convey our serious and ongoing concern about the DPRK's continued proliferation activities and those who support it," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday. "The United States will use every appropriate tool to address the DPRK's WMD and ballistic missile programs, which constitute a serious threat to international peace and security and undermine the global nonproliferation regime."

The new sanctions announcement targeted several North Koreans based in Russia and China along with the Moscow-based Parsek LLC, whose director of development has worked closely with a North Korean national since 2016. The sanctions announcement thus offers a glimpse of the U.S. explanation for how North Korea has improved its missile capabilities throughout a period of enhanced sanctions pressure and unprecedented summits between Kim and then-President Donald Trump.

"The procurement and supply relationship between O Yong Ho, Roman Anatolyevich Alar, and Parsek LLC is a key source of missile-applicable goods and technology for the DPRK's missile program," Blinken said.


North Korea claimed earlier Wednesday to have succeeded in the "final verification" of their hypersonic missile program — an accomplishment that, if true, would put Pyongyang on the cutting edge of ballistic missile technology.

"The superior maneuverability of the hypersonic glide vehicle was more strikingly verified through the final test-fire," North Korean state media claimed, per a South Korean media outlet. "The test-fire was aimed at the final verification of overall technical specifications of the developed hypersonic weapon system."

Russian state media downplayed the significance of the test. "North Korea's claims it has tested a hypersonic weapon, and not some item flying at hypersonic speeds, bear a heavy political imprint," retired Russian spy general Alexander Mikhailov told TASS. "These products are not exactly what the nuclear powers having advanced military-industrial complexes call hypersonic weapons."


Still, U.S. officials cited the missile tests as additional justification for the new sanctions.

"Today's actions, part of the United States's ongoing efforts to counter the DPRK's weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, target its continued use of overseas representatives to illegally procure goods for weapons," said Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. "The DPRK's latest missile launches are further evidence that it continues to advance prohibited programs despite the international community's calls for diplomacy and denuclearization."

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