US blacklists Myanmar firms for NKorea arms trade

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 17, 2013 at 11:53 am •  Published: December 17, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States imposed sanctions Tuesday on a Myanmar military officer and three companies it accuses of involvement in the continuing, illicit arms trade with North Korea.

The designations do not directly target Myanmar's government but will deepen doubts over the nation's compliance with U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Cutting Myanmar's military ties with North Korea has been a key goal of the U.S. policy to end Myanmar's long international isolation after its democratic reforms.

In response to the reforms in the country also known as Burma, Washington has eased its longstanding restrictions on trade and investment, although not on export of arms. In a sign of enduring U.S. concerns, Treasury has periodically expanded the blacklist of individuals and companies it considers to be bad actors.

As of Tuesday, they include Lt. Col. Kyaw Nyunt Oo, said to act on behalf of the Burmese Directorate of Defense Industries, or DDI, which is already sanctioned. Its chief, a general, was blacklisted in July.

Treasury also targeted Soe Min Htike Co. Ltd. and Excellence Mineral, describing them in Tuesday's statement as Myanmar companies working with North Korean officials to import materiel for military weapons programs as recently this June; and Asia Metal, said to have constructed buildings and supplied construction materials for a DDI factory compound where approximately 30 North Koreans were still working as of December 2012.

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