Russian Federation and China have pushed for the Security Council to ease sanctions on Pyongyang after the summit in June between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (mih-NOO'-shin) says in a statement that the sanctions are meant to stop the flow of illicit revenue to North Korea from overseas IT workers hiding behind front companies and aliases.
Earlier on Wednesday, Trump signed an executive order to help protect USA elections from foreign interference by imposing sanctions on countries and other actors who seek to meddle, U.S. officials said.
Mnuchin warned companies across the globe "to take precautions to ensure that they are not unwittingly employing North Korean workers for technology projects".
Russia is being accused by the United States on Thursday of pressuring an independent panel of U.N. experts to alter a report on sanctions against North Korea that included alleged sanctions violations "implicating Russian actors". The companies and their executives are accused of violating sanctions banning the exportation of North Korean workers and operating information technology services in North Korea.
The Trump administration has sought to ramp up pressure on Kim to strike a deal to halt North Korea's nuclear program in part by penalizing Chinese and Russian firms that the increasingly isolated country depends on to keep its economy afloat.
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The Security Council is scheduled to meet on September 17 to discuss implementation of sanctions on North Korea at Washington's the request.
Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June at a summit in Singapore where Kim agreed in broad terms to work toward denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
The US in July had demanded without success an end to all oil exports to North Korea, citing satellite photographs and expert reports to claim illegal ship-to-ship transfers had allowed Pyongyang to evade sanctions over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. "Period", U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in a press release.
According to an anonymous United Nations diplomat, the Russia "obtained the removal of the main part of the paragraphs", referring to the panel's original report that had named the Russian ships and entities accused of breaking U.S. sanctions.
"We're disappointed in the panel for caving to Russian pressure and making changes to what should be an independent report", Haley added, noting that it was a "dangerous precedent".
"The full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions remains mandatory for all member states - including Russian Federation".