July 2, 2013 / 4:47 PM / 6 years ago

U.S. sanctions Myanmar general for dealings with North Korea

Minister for Border Affairs Lieutenant General Thein Htay addresses a news conference on the Rohingya-related unrest in Rakhine State, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Yangon July 30, 2012. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Tuesday sanctioned the head of a missile research and development facility in Myanmar for ignoring international requirements that he stop buying military equipment from North Korea.

Lieutenant General Thein Htay runs the Directorate of Defense Industries, which was sanctioned in July 2012 for buying military equipment and material from North Korea.

“Thein Htay has disregarded international requirements to stop purchasing military goods from North Korea,” said U.S. Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen. “We will continue our efforts, alongside our international partners, to shut down North Korea’s dangerous and destabilizing weapons proliferation.”

Tuesday’s action prohibits U.S. citizens from engaging in transactions with Thein Htyay, and freezes assets he might have in the United States.

It comes on the heels of sanctions imposed June 27 on a North Korean bank and other individuals. The U.S. has been ratcheting up the pressure on North Korea since its latest nuclear test in February.

The Obama administration said Tuesday’s action does not target the government of Burma, also referred to as Myanmar. The sanctions announcement said the country has “continued to take positive steps in severing its military ties with North Korea.”

The United Nations said in May that increasingly tough financial sanctions, an arms embargo and other international restrictions on trade had significantly delayed expansion of North Korea’s nuclear arms program. (Reporting by Paige Gance; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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