Three North Korean officials connected to the country's weapons of mass destruction program were sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday.
U.S. sanctions are aimed at three members of the Workers' Party of Korea, Jon Il Ho, Yu Jin, and Kim Su Gil.
"Treasury is taking action in close trilateral coordination with the Republic of Korea and Japan against officials who have had leading roles in the DPRK's [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programs," Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a news release.
"Recent launches demonstrate the need for all countries to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions, which are intended to prevent the DPRK from acquiring the technologies, materials, and revenue Pyongyang need to develop its prohibited WMD and ballistic missile capabilities," Nelson said.
The sanctions come after the North launched a barrage of missiles, including an intercontinental ballistic missile launch on Nov. 18 - its eighth ICBM launch this year.
Separately, South Korea announced Friday that it would impose unilateral sanctions on eight North Korean individuals and seven businesses linked to Pyongyang's weapons development program and sanctions evasion.
North Korea's missile launches have been regularly criticized by U.S. officials as violators of UN Security Council resolutions and threats to international peace and stability.
State news agency KCNA said last week that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stated that his nation wants to have "the world's most powerful" nuclear force while praising dozens of military troops who recently participated in the launch of a new ballistic missile.
North Korea has "not responded substantively" to the Biden administration's repeated attempts to engage it directly, a U.S. senior administration official told CNN in early November.
The official stated that several channels, including third parties, private bilateral channels, and open messages, had been used in the engagement initiatives.
Due to the sensitivity of the contacts, the official refrained from providing more details, but stated that Pyongyang's actions and statements "make clear that they are not interested in diplomacy."
For a number of reasons, not the least of which is that they're making public references to why they're refusing to talk to us, the administration is "very confident" that the messages are reaching North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the official said.
If there is a scenario in which the United States would quit seeking conversation without conditions, the official wouldn't elaborate.