Ned Price, Department Spokesperson
The United States continues to take steps to limit the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s access to logistical and financial resources for its unlawful ballistic missile and weapons of mass destruction programs, which are in clear violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions and threaten regional peace and security. The U.S. Department of the Treasury is designating two individuals for engaging in transportation and procurement activities on behalf of the DPRK. Ri Sok and Yan Zhiyong are representatives of the DPRK’s national airline Air Koryo, and they help the airline transport goods back to DPRK on behalf of two UN- and U.S.-designated entities involved in intelligence activities, arms trade, and the DPRK’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs. Treasury is designating Ri Sok and Yan Zhiyong pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13722 for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Air Koryo, which was previously designated pursuant to E.O. 13722 and has direct ties to DPRK military activities and missile program.
Treasury is also re-designating Tornado Cash, a virtual currency mixer, pursuant to E.O. 13722 for providing material support to the Lazarus Group, whose malicious cyber activities have supported the DPRK’s weapons of mass destruction program, and E.O. 13694. The use of Tornado Cash to launder stolen funds represents a larger trend by the DPRK regime to resort to illicit activities, including cyber-enabled heists from virtual currency exchanges and financial institutions, to generate revenue for its unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programs. The United States is committed to countering the regime’s attempts to raise funds through illicit activity and will continue to take actions against entities facilitating such activity.
We once again call on all countries to fully implement DPRK-related UN Security Council resolutions in order to prevent the DPRK from acquiring the technologies and materials it needs to sustain its unlawful weapons programs.