US cites N. Korea bankers for weapons proliferation

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States (US) Treasury on Thursday imposed sanctions on two Beijing-based North Korean bankers for their role in exporting Pyongyang's weapons technology and equipment, including to Iran.

Also named for sanctions was a Hong Kong-based trading company which the Treasury said facilitates weapons-related shipments on behalf of Pyongyang's "premier arms dealer", the Mining Development Trading Corporation known as KOMID, the Treasury said.

The Treasury said Ra Ky'ong Su and Kim Kwang Il are Beijing representatives of Tanchon Commercial Bank (TCB), which it called the "financial arm" of KOMID.

"TCB plays a role in financing KOMID's sales of ballistic missiles and has also been involved in ballistic missile transactions from KOMID to Iran's Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, the US and United Nations (UN) -designated Iranian organisation responsible for developing liquid-fuelled ballistic missiles," it said.

The trading company hit with sanctions, Leader (Hong Kong) International Trading Ltd, facilitates shipments to KOMID's customers or its agents outside of North Korea, the Treasury said.

The Treasury's action follows the international sanctions against North Korea announced Tuesday by the UN Security Council, which included Leader and the two bankers among others as targets for penalties.

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