The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday hit five North Korean officials with sanctions in response to a ballistic missile test Tuesday.
North Korea has now held two tests in the past week, both of which it claimed were successful. The tests involved a hypersonic glide vehicle, which was released from a rocket booster and demonstrated “glide jump flight” and “corkscrew maneuvering” before hitting a target 620 miles out to sea.
Leader Kim Jong Un reportedly oversaw the successful missile test, which he claimed would greatly increase the country’s nuclear “war deterrent.”
In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, waves from a balcony toward the assembled troops and spectators during a celebration of the nation’s 73rd anniversary at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, early Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: “KCNA” which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP))
The sanctions relate to the roles the officials played in obtaining equipment and technology for the nation’s weapons program.
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But officials hit by the sanction do not actually reside in North Korea: One currently resides in Russia while the other four operate out of China. All five stand accused of providing money, goods or services to North Korea’s Second Academy of Natural Sciences, which is allegedly involved in the country’s military defense program.
This photo provided by the North Korean government shows what it says a test launch of a hypersonic missile on Jan. 11, 2022 in North Korea. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: “KCNA” which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
The sanctions will freeze any assets the five officials maintain in U.S. jurisdictions and bar any American from conducting business with them. Any foreign company or individual who conducts business with the officials may also face penalties.
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“The DPRK’s latest missile launches are further evidence that it continues to advance prohibited programs despite the international community’s calls for diplomacy and denuclearization,” said Treasury’s chief of terrorism and financial intelligence, Brian Nelson.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Chinese Premiere Xi Jinping, right. (Reuters/Getty Images)
North Korea claimed to have conducted a successful hypersonic weapons test on Jan. 5, which marked the second overall successful test of such a weapon by the country.
The tests follow similar hypersonic weapons tests by Russia and China as part of what U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall called a new “arms race” that has been “going on for quite some time.”
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But a Congressional national security staffer told Fox News that while hypersonic weapons remain important, they’re just “one piece of the puzzle.”
“Our fleet is 100 warships too small,” the staffer said. “Our nuclear triad is decades old. New threats emerge in space and cyberspace almost daily. We risk falling behind everywhere.”
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“The second that Russia and China believe they can bloody the West’s nose and get away with it, they’ll take a swing. We damn well better be ready for it,” the staffer added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.