Japan, South Korea and the United States have imposed sanctions on North Korean officials linked to the unprecedented missile test. Washington said Pyongyang’s ballistic missiles ‘pose a serious risk to the region and the entire world. Al-Jazeera news.

The US Treasury Department released the names of the individuals sanctioned on Thursday. Among them are John Il Ho, Yoo Jin and Kim Soo Gil. All of them were designated for sanctions by the European Union in April.

Any US-based assets of the sanctioned persons will be seized and transactions with them will be blocked. But experts say it appears to be symbolic.

South Korea’s foreign ministry announced sanctions on seven other people, including one person from Singapore and one from Taiwan, and eight entities. All are already under US sanctions imposed between January 2018 and October 2022, the ministry said.

Japan has designated three entities and one individual, including Lazarus Group, for new sanctions, Japan’s foreign ministry said. A cyber attack on the organization is suspected.

China and Russia have blocked recent UN efforts to impose more sanctions on North Korea. Instead of sanctions, they said, they should be relaxed to start negotiations and avoid human casualties. They also left Washington to focus on trilateral efforts with Japan and South Korea as well as European partners.

The latest sanctions stem from North Korea’s November 18 intercontinental ballistic missile test. The country has recorded more than 60 missile launches this year. There are also concerns about resuming nuclear weapons tests that had been suspended in 2017.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the tests threatened global security and the latest punitive measures “underscore our sustained resolve to promote accountability in response to the speed, scale and scope of Pyongyang’s ballistic missile launches”.

South Korea’s foreign ministry said the latest move was part of efforts to respond sternly to North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile threats.

Decades of US-led sanctions have failed to halt North Korea’s increasingly sophisticated missile and nuclear weapons programs.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan previously said Washington was committed to using pressure and diplomacy to entice North Korea to give up its nuclear arsenal.

A spokesman for the White House National Security Council said the sanctions had successfully slowed the development of the weapons program. Pyongyang has turned to increasingly desperate means of generating revenue, such as virtual currency heists and other cybercrimes, to fund its weapons program.

(Dhaka Times / 02 December / SAT)