UN expands sanctions on N. Korea for rocket launch
NEW YORK (Yonhap) -- The U.N. Security Council decided Wednesday to freeze the assets abroad of three North Korean state firms reportedly involved in missile and nuclear activities.
The move is to follow up on a statement by the 15 members of the council against Pyongyang's long-range rocket launch in April.
It raises the number of North Korean entities subject to U.N. sanctions to 11.
U.N. diplomats said the three firms -- Green Pine Conglomerate, Amroggang Development Banking Corp. and Korea Heungjin Trading Company -- are "very much involved in illicit missile and nuclear programs."
The committee also decided to update lists of sensitive nuclear and ballistic missile technology prohibited for transfer to or from North Korea
"Taken together, we view this as a strong and credible set of new sanctions," U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice told reporters.
The U.S., South Korea, Japan and the European Union initially proposed a list of around 40 North Korean companies.
But China, a veto-wielding member of the council and the North's major ally, insisted on a far smaller number, according to multiple sources.
The Security Council imposed tough sanctions against North Korean firms and figures after its nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
The U.S. government formally hailed the council's decision.
"The United States welcomes today's action by the Security Council's DPRK (1718) Sanctions Committee to impose new sanctions on North Korea and tighten enforcement of existing sanctions," the U.S. Mission to the U.N. said in a statement. DPRK stands for the North's formal name, Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"These measures will increase North Korea's isolation and make it harder for Pyongyang to move forward with its illicit programs." It added, "The Committee's strong and united response shows that the Security Council is determined that there be consequences for this provocation and any future North Korean violation."