“Today’s actions, which are part of the United States’ ongoing efforts to counter (North Korea’s) weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, are directed at its continued use of overseas representatives to illegally procure goods for arms,” said the Deputy Minister of Finance for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. Brian E. Nelson said in a statement.
North Korea’s “recent missile launches are further evidence that it continues to promote banned programs despite international calls for diplomacy and nuclear disarmament,” he added.
Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said in a statement later Wednesday that in addition to the individuals and entities against which the Ministry of Finance had imposed sanctions, his department imposed sanctions on “one (North Korean) person, a Russian person and a Russian entity who have participated in activities or transactions that have significantly contributed to the proliferation of (weapons of mass destruction) or their means of delivery of (North Korea). ”
A full assessment of the missile test of North Korea on Tuesday local time is still being made. Three U.S. officials told CNN they showed some surprising abilities, though two other U.S. officials said they were not surprised by the development. These two officials quoted North Korea’s statement that it was working on new advanced weapons for combat earlier this month and launched its first hypersonic missile test last year.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s joint chief of staff said Tuesday’s test was more advanced than the missile that Pyongyang tested last week, reaching a speed of more than 10 times the speed of sound.
A US administration official said the current assessment is that the missile most likely released a glider, but it is not clear how successful it was. A maneuverable glider is when the front end of the missile is released and can maneuver and change course.
Several officials also warned that the analysis is still ongoing, adding that it is not clear whether the capabilities demonstrated in the test are immediately relevant to North Korea’s operational military capabilities.
Tuesday’s projectile was fired from Jangang province, near the border with China, and landed in the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, and its flight covered a distance of more than 700 kilometers (435 miles) and reached an altitude of 60 kilometers (37 miles). ). ), according to South Korea.
North Korea said on Wednesday that it had successfully fired a hypersonic missile, according to its state media, making it the third alleged test of such a weapon by the Kim Jong Un regime. Kim attended the launch, state media reported.
Despite the advanced launch, the Biden administration does not plan to reach out to North Korea in a significant way before the South Korean election in March, administration officials said.
This week’s weapons test comes as US-North Korea diplomacy has been halted for more than a year. Although the Biden administration has tried to reach out to North Korea a handful of times, there has been no real response.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ned Price told reporters on Wednesday that the Biden administration’s policy towards North Korea remains “unchanged” in light of recent missile launches. The administration still believes the “only effective” way to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula is through dialogue, he said.
U.S. officials have seen, and quietly supported, while South Korea has tried to engage North Korea in many ways over the past year. But South Koreans do not think there is a good chance of diplomacy before the election, and Biden administration officials agree.
Administration officials believe North Korea is now focused solely on two things: the coronavirus pandemic and the promotion of its weapons systems, officials said.
This story has been updated with further details from the State Department.
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