On 2 January 2015, President Obama issued E.O. 13687 in response to North Korean provocations, including the cyber-attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment and threats against movie theatres and moviegoers.  E.O. 13687 authorises the Treasury Department to impose sanctions on persons determined:

  • To be an agency, instrumentality or controlled entity of the Government of North Korea or the Workers’ Party of Korea;
  • To be an official of the Government of Korea;
  • To be an official of the Workers’ Party of Korea;
  • To have materially assisted or provided support for, or goods or services to, the Government of North Korea or any person sanctioned under this E.O. 13687; or
  • To be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for, the Government of North Korea or any person sanctioned under this E.O. 13687.

In conjunction with the issuance of E.O. 13687, the Treasury Department announced that 3 entities and 10 individuals have been designated under the new sanctions authority.  The newly sanctioned entities  are the Reconnaissance General Bureau (“RGB”), which is North Korea’s primary intelligence organisation, Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (“KOMID”), referred to as North Korea’s primary arms dealer, and Korea Tangun Trading Corporation, which has responsibility for procuring commodities and technologies to support North Korea’s defence research and development programmes. Most of the designated individuals are officials or representatives of these entities.