US blacklists Myanmar general over N. Korea arms deals

The United States placed a Myanmar general on its sanctions blacklist Tuesday for arms deals with North Korea that violated a UN Security Council embargo on buying weapons from Pyongyang.

The US Treasury named Lt. General Thein Htay, the head of Myanmar's Directorate of Defense Industries, for the sanctions, saying he was involved in buying North Korean military goods despite his government's support of the Security Council ban.

It also said he acted on behalf of the Directorate of Defense Industries, a Myanmar military agency that was placed on the US sanctions blacklist in July 2012 for arms deals with North Korea.

"This action specifically targets Thein Htay, who is involved in the illicit trade of North Korean arms to Burma," the US Treasury said in a statement, using the former official name for Myanmar.

"It does not target the Government of Burma, which has continued to take positive steps in severing its military ties with North Korea."

The Treasury noted that the Myanmar government last November "publicly announced its intention to abide by" the UN Security Council resolution prohibiting countries from buying military equipment and support from North Korea.

"The international community has repeatedly condemned North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile proliferation activity," the Treasury said.

"North Korea's arms trade provides it with an important source of revenue to expand and enhance its proscribed nuclear and missile programs, which are a threat to international peace and security."

The sanctions announced Tuesday forbid any American from doing business with Thein Htay and freeze any assets he might have in the United States.