The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has introduced sanctions against two companies for exploiting North Korean overseas labor, Korea Namgang Trading Corp and Beijing Sukbakso, on 14 January.
A statement issued by the Treasury claims that the Korea Namgang Trading Corp has been involved in exportation of workers from North Korea to generate revenue for the country's government, while Beijing Sukbakso allegedly ran a China-based lodging facility to facilitate labor export.
"The exportation of North Korean workers raises illicit revenue for the government of North Korea in violation of UN sanctions," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said
Under a resolution unanimously approved by the UN in 2017, countries had until December 22, 2019 to send back all workers from North Korea.
News of this development come as North Korean head of state Kim Jong-un accused the Trump administration of deliberately wasting time, vowing that the prolongation of a stalemate in denuclearization talks will not be beneficial for the US.
Kim also declared that Pyongyang will no longer be bound by a preemptive ICBM test moratorium as long as Washington continues military drills on and around the Korean peninsula.
Since 2018, the United States and North Korea held bilateral talks in a bid to normalize relations between the two countries and to possibly achieve the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.