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 Treasury Sanctions Additional North Korean Officials and Entities in Response to the Regime’s Serious Human Rights Abuses and Censorship Activities


10/26/2017

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today sanctioned seven individuals and three entities of the North Korean regime in response to the regime's ongoing and serious human rights abuses. Treasury is taking this action in conjunction with the State Department's "Report on Serious Human Rights Abuses and Censorship in North Korea," which is being submitted in accordance with the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016.

"North Korea is run by a brutal regime that continues to engage in serious human rights abuses. We are especially concerned with the North Korean military, which operates as secret police, punishing all forms of dissent. Further, the military operates outside of North Korea to hunt down asylum seekers, and brutally detains and forcibly returns North Korean citizens," said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. "Today's sanctions target the North Korean military and regime officials engaged in flagrant abuses of human rights. We also are targeting North Korean financial facilitators who attempt to keep the regime afloat with foreign currency earned through forced labor operations."

Today's designations of the seven individuals were issued pursuant to E.O. 13687, which targets, among others, officials of the Government of North Korea and the Workers' Party of Korea. As a result of today's actions, any property or interest in property of those designated by OFAC within U.S. jurisdiction is frozen. The identifications of the three entities were issued pursuant to E.O. 13722, which, among others, blocks the property and interests in property of the Government of North Korea and the Workers' Party of Korea. Transactions by U.S. persons involving any of these sanctioned persons are generally prohibited.

Entities and Officials of the Government of North Korea and the Workers' Party of Korea

OFAC identified the Military Security Command, also known as the Military Security Bureau or the Korean People's Army Security Bureau, pursuant to E.O. 13722 as an agency, instrumentality, or controlled entity of the Government of North Korea or the Workers' Party of Korea. OFAC also designated Jo Kyong-Chol, the Director of the Military Security Command, and Sin Yong Il, the Deputy Director of the Military Security Command, pursuant to E.O. 13687 for being officials of the Government of North Korea. According to the Department of State, the Military Security Command monitors military personnel for anti-regime activity and investigates political crimes in the military, and it has been described by the United Nations Commission of Inquiry as "the military's own secret police."

OFAC designated Ri Thae Chol, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) First Vice Minister of the Ministry of People's Security, Ku Sung Sop, Consul General in Shenyang, China, and Kim Min Chol, a diplomat at the North Korean Embassy in Vietnam, pursuant to E.O. 13687 for being officials of the Government of North Korea or the Workers' Party of Korea. Ku Sung Sop and Kim Min Chol are also associated with the Ministry of State Security and, according to the State Department, have participated in the forced repatriation of North Korean asylum seekers. On July 6, 2016, OFAC designated the Ministry of State Security and the Ministry of People's Security pursuant to E.O. 13722 for having engaged in, facilitated, or been responsible for an abuse or violation of human rights by the Government of North Korea or the Workers' Party of Korea.

OFAC designated Jong Yong Su, the DPRK Minister of Labor, pursuant to E.O. 13687 for being an official of the Government of North Korea or the Workers' Party of Korea. The Ministry of Labor forcibly allocates individuals to specific sectors, including the mining sector, as part of the regime's economic system based on forced labor, and in January 2017, OFAC identified the Ministry of Labor pursuant to E.O. 13722 as an agency, instrumentality, or controlled entity of the Government of North Korea.

OFAC identified the External Construction Bureau and the Ch'olhyo'n Overseas Construction Company pursuant to E.O. 13722 as agencies, instrumentalities, or controlled entities of the Government of North Korea or the Workers' Party of Korea. OFAC also designated Kim Kang Jin, the Director of the External Construction Bureau, pursuant to E.O. 13687 for being an official of the Government of North Korea or the Workers' Party of Korea. Beyond North Korea, the External Construction Bureau has been located in Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. The Ch'olhyo'n Overseas Construction Company is reported to earn foreign currency for North Korea, and it has been located in Algeria. According to the State Department report, "employees of Ch'olhyo'n are kept in slave-like conditions, including having salaries and passports withheld by DPRK security officials assigned as site supervisors, meager food rations, poor living conditions, and severe restrictions on their freedom of movement."

For identifying information on the individuals and entities sanctioned today, click here.

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