US sanctions N. Korea over arms trade

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un inspects a tactical rocket firing drill by the Korean People's Army Strategic Force in a photo released on June 30, 2014 (AFP Photo/) (KCNA via KNS/AFP/File)

The United States imposed financial sanctions Tuesday against six individuals and several companies linked to arms proliferation by North Korea.

The sanctions targeted North Korea's Strategic Rocket Force, two banks and three shipping companies allegedly involved in the arms trade, according to the US Treasury.

Among the targets was the Tanchon Commercial Bank, the financial arm of the Korea Mining and Development Trading Corporation, which is responsible for North Korea arms exports.

Five of the bank's representatives -- two of whom were based in Syria and two others in Vietnam -- also were hit with sanctions.

Also blacklisted was the North Korean representative in Russia of the Foreign Trade Bank, North Korea's primary foreign exchange bank.

The sanctions bar American citizens or companies from engaging in transactions with the designated individuals and companies, and freezes any US-based assets they may have.

"North Korea threatens international peace and security by expanding its nuclear program and continuing its proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and conventional weapons," said Adam Szubin, acting under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

"Treasury is committed to exposing North Korea's global proliferation network and excluding these facilitators from the international financial system."

In sanctioning North Korea's Strategic Rocket Force, the Treasury noted it had carried out multiple ballistic missile tests in 2014.

The three blacklisted shipping companies were accused of transporting weapons.