Washington has imposed additional sanctions against Pyongyang, formally accusing it of involvement in the assassination of the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Malaysia in 2017 using a chemical warfare agent.
“The United States determined under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act) that the Government of North Korea used the chemical warfare agent VX to assassinate Kim Jong Nam, in the Kuala Lumpur airport,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
Maybe unfortunate timing. The US government has formally concluded that North Korea had Kim’s bother killed with the VX nerve agent. The determination comes with automatic sanctions (but there’s not much left for the US to sanction) pic.twitter.com/Vd6BEZ9ro3
— Dave Clark (@DaveClark_AFP) March 7, 2018
The additional sanctions against Pyongyang came into effect on Monday, after the US “officially” determined that the Pyongyang government was involved in Kim’s half-brother’s assassination, according to Nauert. Kim Jong-nam was killed with the banned chemical weapons agent VX on 13 February, 2017, when two women smeared his face with the substance at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia.
The State Department’s notice, published in the Federal Register, accused the North Korean leadership of using “chemical weapons in violation of international law or lethal chemical weapons against its own nationals.”
The notice, however, failed to elaborate on specifics. The broad list of sanctions envisaged by the law includes various measures, ranging from cutting arms sales and export of sensitive technologies to halting financial assistance and bank loans, none of which seem to be relevant in the case of North Korea, already suffering from multiple rounds of Washington’s sanctions. The new, rather symbolic measures, however, will be in place for at least one year or until further notice.
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