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UN blacklists North Korea firms over rocket launch

The United Nations has imposed sanctions on three state-owned North Korean companies in response to the country’s botched rocket launch last month.

North Korea missile launch pad 2012 4 9Enlarge
Two North Korean soldiers stand guard in front of the Unha-3 rocket at Tangachai -ri space center on April 8, 2012. (PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images)

The United Nations has imposed sanctions on three state-owned North Korean companies in response to the country’s botched rocket launch last month.

The UN Security Council’s sanctions committee unanimously approved a decision to freeze the firms’ assets and add them to a blacklist of companies banned from engaging in global trade on Wednesday, The Daily Telegraph reports.

The three firms, identified as Green Pine Conglomerate, Amroggang Development Banking Corporation and Korea Heungjin Trading Company, were described by the United States’ Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice as “very significant North Korean entities,” and are said to be linked to Pyongyang’s development of nuclear weapons and missile programs.

In addition, the sanctions committee updated its lists dealing with North Korea’s missiles and nuclear-related material, approving extra items and technology that would be banned from being transferred to or from the country, according to the BBC.

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Before Wednesday’s decision, the North Korean sanctions lists included eight firms and five individuals.

It came after China – North Korea’s only significant ally – consented to sanctions on the companies, and falls far short of the roughly 40 companies the US, the European Union, South Korea and Japan sought to blacklist after the April 13 launch by the North, which they suspect was carried out to test missile technology banned under UN resolutions, Reuters reports.

Analysts also point out that North Korea often changes the names of companies once they are placed on sanctions lists. Pyongyang has not publicly commented on the new sanctions. 

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/120503/un-blacklists-north-korea-firms-over-rocket-launch