The U.S. has announced a new list of sanctions targets in North Korea for their leading roles in a torpedo attack on the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan in March. The list includes North Korea's Reconnaissance Bureau; its bureau chief Kim Yong-chol; and Green Pine Associated Corporation, an arms exporter accused of selling CHT-02D torpedoes, the same type that sank the Cheonan.
The list also includes a secretive branch of the North Korean Workers Party code-named Room 39 which is believed to manage leader Kim Jong-il's slush funds.
U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday signed an executive order establishing the new sanctions program. The order took note of "an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy" of the U.S., while citing the North's unprovoked attack on the Cheonan, which resulted in the deaths of 46 sailors; its test of a nuclear device and long-range missile launches in 2009; and violations of UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874.
It says the new sanctions target a global financial network that supports the North Korean regime through illicit economic activities, such as arms deals, money laundering, the counterfeiting of goods and currency, bulk cash smuggling, and narcotics trafficking.
The six-page order singles out the regime as the sole target.
Separately, the U.S. Treasury Department identified five entities and three individuals for further sanctions under Executive Order 13382, which was signed in 2005 to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. They include the North's Second Economic Committee, Heungjin Trading, and Yun Ho-jin, the president of Namchongang Trading.
Under Secretary of the Treasury Stuart Levey told reporters the executive order "as well as additional actions we will take in the weeks and months to come are aimed at disrupting North Korea's efforts to engage in illicit activities and its ability to surreptitiously move its money by deceiving banks and smuggling cash worldwide."