(Adds background and details from Treasury release)
WASHINGTON, July 30 The United States on
Wednesday blacklisted two North Korean shipping firms that it
said tried to conceal arms shipments from Cuba to North Korea,
following a similar move by the United Nations.
The ship, Chong Chon Gang, was discovered last July near the
Panama Canal hiding a large amount of arms, including two MiG-21
jet fighters under 200,000 bags of sugar, which the United
States said showed a clear attempt to circumvent U.N. and U.S.
sanctions against North Korea.
North Korea is under an array of sanctions for nuclear and
ballistic missile tests since 2006 in defiance of global demands
"The Chong Chon Gang episode, in which (North Korea) tried
to hide an arms shipment under tons of sugar, is a perfect
example of North Korea's deceptive activity, and precisely the
sort of conduct that we are committed to disrupting," David
Cohen, the U.S. Treasury Department's undersecretary for
terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.
The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Chongchongang
Shipping Company, which is owned by the North Korean government,
and the Ocean Maritime Management Company, which tried to help
conceal the weapons and provide false documents to authorities
in Panama, Treasury said. It also blacklisted 18 vessels in
which the firms have an interest.
The new sanctions freeze any assets the companies may hold
in the United States and prohibit people and firms in the United
States from dealing with them.
(Reporting by Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and