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Obama sanctions North Korea for violations of a ban on nuclear, missile tests

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama hit North Korea with new sanctions Wednesday in response to the country’s “illicit” nuclear and ballistic missile tests earlier this year.

The president signed an executive order implementing two sets of sanctions: those that unanimously cleared the U.N. Security Council and a separate round of U.S. sanctions enacted by Obama after Congress overwhelmingly approved and sent him legislation.

The executive order prohibits the exportation of goods, services and technology to North Korea and prohibits new investment in North Korea. It also establishes nine new criteria allowing the Treasury Department to target North Korea’s human rights abuses, censorship, cybersecurity threats, trade in metals, graphite, coal, or software; revenue from overseas workers; and attempts to engage in those activities.

Individuals employed in North Korea’s transportation, mining, energy or financial services industries may also be subject to sanctions.

In a vote that reflected growing anger over North Korea’s repeated violations of a ban on nuclear-related activity, the U.N. Security Council on March 2 unanimously approved the toughest set of sanctions against the country in two decades. The punishment includes mandatory inspections of cargo leaving and entering North Korea by land, sea or air; a ban on all sales or transfers of small arms and light weapons to Pyongyang; and expulsion of diplomats from the North who engage in “illicit activities.”

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