WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned two Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) nationals involved in the procurement of equipment and materials that support the DPRK ballistic missile program. The DPRK continues to utilize a network of representatives in foreign countries, including the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Iran, to illicitly import restricted components necessary to conduct research and development of its unlawful weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile programs, in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions.
“The DPRK’s ongoing development of its ballistic missile program – even Pyongyang’s recent failed military satellite launch – continues to threaten regional and international security,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “The United States is committed to targeting the regime’s illicit procurement networks that feed its weapons programs.”
DPRK PROCUREMENT REPRESENTATIVES
The DPRK relies on foreign-sourced ballistic missile-related components that it cannot produce domestically. To obtain these components, the DPRK uses an extensive overseas network of procurement agents, including officials who operate from DPRK diplomatic missions or trade offices, as well as third-country nationals and foreign companies.
The Second Academy of Natural Sciences (SANS) is a national-level organization responsible for research and development of DPRK’s advanced weapons systems, including missiles and likely nuclear weapons. SANS is designated by the UN and U.S. for its involvement with the DPRK’s WMD programs. SANS uses numerous subordinate organizations and international representatives to procure foreign technology, equipment, materials, and information used in the research and development of advanced weapons systems, including missiles and likely nuclear weapons.
Choe Chol Min is a Beijing-based SANS representative who has worked with DPRK weapons trading officials, PRC nationals, and other associates to purchase and procure a range of items, including items known to be materials used in the production of DPRK ballistic missiles. Choe Chol Min has also collaborated with SANS representatives to facilitate the dispatch of over a thousand DPRK workers to the PRC and has supported the DPRK’s primary weapons trading entity. Choe Chol Min received procurement requests from the DPRK for items and coordinated with associates to fulfill those orders. Furthermore, Choe Chol Min has worked with DPRK weapons trading officials to purchase electronic equipment for Iranian customers.
Choe Chol Min is being designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13382 for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, SANS, an entity whose property and interests in property is blocked pursuant to E.O. 13382.