US sanctions North Korean couple accused of helping to procure equipment for ballistic missiles

Jun 15, 2023, 8:46 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. on Thursday imposed sanctions on a North Korean husband and wife living in Beijing accused of helping to procure equipment for ballistic missiles that ended up in the hands of North Korean and Iranian customers.

Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said Choe Chol Min and his wife Choe Un Jong work through North Korea’s Second Academy of Natural Sciences, a state organization that conducts research for the nation’s ballistics missiles program, to help procure equipment for buyers.

Treasury says Choe Chol Min worked with North Korean weapons trading officials to buy equipment for Iranian customers. His wife is accused of coordinating at least one order for dual-use bearings that are used in North Korean ballistic missile production.

The isolated Asian nation uses a network of representatives in foreign countries, including China and Iran, to illegally import restricted materials used to create ballistic missiles and other weapons in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, Treasury said.

Tensions have risen in past months as the pace of North Korean weapons tests and U.S.-South Korea military exercises has increased.

North Korea has test-fired about 100 missiles since the start of 2022, and South Korean and U.S. troops recently ended a fifth round of large-scale live-fire drills near the Koreas’ border on Thursday.

In May, a North Korean long-range rocket carrying its first spy satellite crashed off the Korean Peninsula’s west coast. On Thursday the nation conducted its first missile tests since that failure, launching two short-range ballistic missiles toward its eastern waters.

Brian E. Nelson, Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said North Korea’s development of its missile program — “even Pyongyang’s recent failed military satellite launch – continues to threaten regional and international security.”

“The United States is committed to targeting the regime’s illicit procurement networks that feed its weapons programs,” Nelson said.

United States News

President Joe Biden speaks to the media as he arrives to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force B...

Associated Press

President Joe Biden says it was a ‘mistake’ to say he wanted to put a ‘bull’s-eye’ on Donald Trump

Biden told NBC News Monday that it was a “mistake” to put a “bull's-eye” on Trump, but argued that Trump's rhetoric was more incendiary.

13 minutes ago

Associated Press

Border arrests plunge 29% in June to the lowest of Biden’s presidency as asylum halt takes hold

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Arrests for illegally crossing the border from Mexico plunged 29% in June, the lowest month of Joe Biden’s presidency, according to figures released Monday that provide another window on the impact of a new rule to temporarily suspend asylum. Arrests totaled 83,536 in June, down from 117,901 in May to mark […]

24 minutes ago

FILE - People walk past May Hall, the main administrative building at Dickinson State University in...

Associated Press

President of Dickinson State University in North Dakota resigns after nursing faculty quit

DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) — The president of Dickinson State University in North Dakota announced his resignation on Monday, days after the school’s nursing faculty quit. In a video, Steve Easton announced his departure and acknowledged “turmoil between some in the faculty and the administration.” Seven faculty members resigned Wednesday, KFYR-TV reported. Former Assistant Professor of […]

37 minutes ago

Associated Press

FACT FOCUS: A look at false claims around the assassination attempt on former President Trump

The assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump, who is running for reelection, is fueling a range of false claims and conspiracy theories as authorities seek information about the 20-year-old shooter’s background and motive, how he obtained the AR-style rifle he fired at Trump and security at the venue that failed to stop the shooting. […]

54 minutes ago

FILE - Christina Osborn and her children, Alexander Osborn and Bella Araiza, visit a makeshift memo...

Associated Press

Judge clears way for demolition of Texas church where 26 people were killed in 2017 shooting

FLORESVILLE, Texas (AP) — A judge on Monday cleared the way for the demolition of the small Texas church in Sutherland Springs where a gunman killed more than two dozen worshippers in 2017 in what remains the deadliest church shooting in U.S. history. Following the shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, the church […]

1 hour ago

RNC Chair Michael Whatley speaks during the Republican National Convention Monday, July 15, 2024, i...

Associated Press

Outside RNC, conservative group defends its Project 2025 guidebook as Democrats ramp up attacks

MILWAUKEE (AP) — At the edge of the cordoned-off perimeter around the Republican National Convention on Monday, hundreds of conservatives filed into the ornate home of the Milwaukee Symphony to hear a parade of luminaries talk policy and Project 2025. Project 2025 is the term for the Heritage Foundation’s nearly 1,000-page handbook for the next […]

1 hour ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

US sanctions North Korean couple accused of helping to procure equipment for ballistic missiles