The United States will also propose UN sanctions on multiple North Koreans, a day after Pyongyang carried out what it said was the launch of a hypersonic missile.

The launch was North Korea’s second test of its purported hypersonic missile in a week.
The launch was North Korea’s second test of its purported hypersonic missile in a week. (Reuters)

The Biden administration has slapped sanctions on five North Korean officials in its first response to Pyongyang’s latest ballistic missile test and later announced it will also seek new UN sanctions.

The Treasury Department said on Wednesday it was imposing penalties on the five officials over their roles in obtaining equipment and technology for the country’s missile programs.

"The DPRK’s latest missile launches are further evidence that it continues to advance prohibited programs despite the international community’s calls for diplomacy and denuclearisation," said Treasury's chief of terrorism and financial intelligence, Brian Nelson.

The Treasury's moves came just hours after North Korea said leader Kim Jong-un oversaw a successful flight test of a hypersonic missile on Tuesday that he claimed would greatly increase the country’s nuclear “war deterrent.”

US ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield tweeted on Wednesday that following designations by Treasury and State the US is also proposing UN sanctions in response to North Korea's six ballistic missile launches since September, “each of which were in violation of UN Security Council resolutions."

READ MORE: North Korea reportedly test fires another hypersonic missile

Enhanced capabilities 

The Treasury Department said one of the North Koreans being sanctioned, Choe Myong Hyon, was based in Russia and had provided support to North Korea's Second Academy of Natural Sciences (SANS), which is already subject to sanctions.

Also targeted were four China-based North Korean representatives of SANS-subordinate organisations, the Treasury Department said: Sim Kwang Sok, Kim Song Hun, Kang Chol Hak and Pyon Kwang Chol.

In a related action, Treasury said the Department of State had designated another North Korean, O Yong Ho, a Russian national, Roman Anatolyevich Alar, and a Russian company, Parsek LLC, for having "materially contributed to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery by (North Korea)."

North Korea's state news agency reported that the latest missile launch involved a hypersonic glide vehicle, which after its release from the rocket booster demonstrated “glide jump flight” and “corkscrew maneuvering” before hitting a sea target almost 1,000 kilometres (621 miles) away.

Photos released by the agency showed a missile mounted with a pointed cone-shaped payload soaring into the sky while leaving a trail of orange flames, with Kim watching from a small cabin with top officials, including his sister Kim Yo Jong.

The launch was North Korea’s second test of its purported hypersonic missile in a week, a type of weaponry it first tested in September, as Kim Jong Un continues a defiant push to expand his nuclear weapons capabilities in the face of international sanctions, pandemic-related difficulties and deadlocked diplomacy with the United States.

The UN Security Council initially imposed sanctions on North Korea after its first nuclear test in 2006 and made them tougher in response to further nuclear tests and an increasingly sophisticated ballistic missile program.

China and Russia circulated a draft resolution in November urging the Security Council to end a host of sanctions against North Korea including a ban on exports of seafood and textiles, a cap on imports of refined petroleum products and a prohibition on its citizens working overseas and sending home their earnings.

It stressed the economic difficulties in North Korea and said these and other sanctions should be lifted “with the intent of enhancing the livelihood of the civilian population.”

READ MORE: North Korea fires suspected ballistic missile amid stalled talks

Source: TRTWorld and agencies