US imposes sanctions on North Korean missile developers
America has imposed sanctions on two North Korean officials who are allegedly responsible for developing the country's nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. This comes days after the UN Security Council (UNSC) imposed fresh sanctions on the regime in response to its missile tests. North Korea responded to the UNSC move, calling it "an act of war" equivalent to a complete economic blockade.
Growing nuclear threats from North Korea
There has been a growing nuclear threat from North Korea. In July, it tested an ICBM which purportedly brought the entire US within its strike range. In August, it threatened to launch a nuclear attack on the US-Pacific territory of Guam in response to Trump's threats. In September, Pyongyang tested a Hydrogen-bomb. In November, it test-fired its highest-ever missile which reached a 4,500km altitude.
UN Security Council imposes tougher sanctions on North Korea
On December 23, the UN Security Council (UNSC) voted to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea over its continued nuclear and ballistic missile tests. The US-drafted sanctions resolution included a provision to cut the North's petrol imports by 90%. The North's two main trading partners, China and Russia, voted in favor of the resolution. These are the tenth round of UNSC sanctions.
Both missile developers frequently seen alongside Kim Jong-un
The latest US sanctions will block any transactions by Kim Jong-sik and Ri Pyong-chol carried out in the US. Ri Pyong-chol is an ex-air force general educated in Russia while Kim Jong-sik is a veteran rocket scientist. Any assets possessed by both men in America would essentially be frozen. The two are frequently photographed alongside North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during missile tests.