19:18 GMT +306 December 2019
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    US Imposes Sanctions on North Korea's Oil Ministry – Treasury

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    The Treasury Department announced that the new sanctions were imposed on entities and individuals over their alleged ties to the Pyongyang regime as the tensions on the Korean peninsula remain high.

    Nine entities and 16 individuals were sanctioned over their ties to North Korea, according to the statement by the Treasury Department on Wednesday. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that Washington will keep sanctioning oil, shipping, and trading firms that provide a "lifeline" to the DPRK fuelling the "regime’s nuclear ambitions and destabilizing activities."

    The sanctions target North Korea's Ministry of Crude Oil industry and two Chinese-based companies, as well as individuals based in Russia and the Abkhazia region, the release said. Six North Korean vessels have also been added to the US list of designated entities, the release said.

    The step authorizes the US government to block any assets held by individuals or firms in America and prohibits US nationals from dealing with those actors.

    "Treasury continues to systematically target individuals and entities financing the Kim regime and its weapons programs, including officials complicit in North Korean sanctions evasion schemes," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated on Wednesday, adding that Washington will keep targeting individuals all over the world.

    This round of sanctions is the latest in a string of restrictive measures that Washingon had used against the DPRK to prevent the country from developing nuclear arms. On December 22, 2017, the UN unanimously passed the resolution to strengthen anti-Pyongyang sanctions, restricting fuel imports and other trade, as well as prohibiting North Koreans from working abroad.

    READ MORE: Seoul Demands Explanation From North Over Canceled Visit for Olympic Preparation

    This comes amid a fragile thaw between two Koreas that had recently decided to restore a military hotline and renew the talks. The two countries have also decided to take part in the upcoming Olympic Games under a unified flag.

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    Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), United States
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