The US on Tuesday slapped sanctions on 10 Russian and Chinese companies and six individuals for helping in advancing North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons programme by conducting business with the reclusive nation.
As a result of the action, any property or interests in property of the designated persons in the possession or control of US persons or within the United States must be blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them, the US Treasury Department said in a statement.
The sanctions target third-country companies and individuals that assist already-designated persons who support North Korea?s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, deal in the North Korean energy trade, facilitate its exportation of workers, and?enable sanctioned North Korean entities to access US and international financial systems.
"Treasury will continue to increase pressure on North Korea by targeting those who support the advancement of nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and isolating them from the American financial system," said Treasury Secretary Steven T Mnuchin.
Some of the prominent companies and individuals slapped with sanctions are China-based Dandong Rich Earth Trading Co, Moscow-based Gefest-M LLC and its director, Russian national Ruben Kirakosyan and China and Hong Kong-based Mingzheng International Trading Limited.
"It is unacceptable for individuals and companies in China, Russia, and elsewhere to enable North Korea to generate income used to develop weapons of mass destruction and destabilise the region," Mnuchin said.
"We are taking actions consistent with UN sanctions to show that there are consequences for defying sanctions and providing support to North Korea, and to deter this activity in the future," he said.
The Treasury also designated three Chinese coal companies collectively responsible for importing nearly half a billion dollars' worth of North Korean coal between 2013 and 2016.