The Latest: Russia bristles at US sanctions
Aug. 22, 2017
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. and North Korea (all times local):
Russia has criticized the U.S. sanctions imposed on Russian companies and people for their ties with North Korea and warned it will consider retaliation.
The Trump administration on Tuesday imposed penalties on 16 mainly Chinese and Russian entities linked to Pyongyang amid heightened tensions over North Korea's missile program.
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov says in Tuesday's statement that "we are starting to work on retaliatory measures, which are unavoidable in this situation."
Ryabkov notes that "U.S. statements about a desire to stabilize bilateral ties sound particularly unconvincing" in view of the sanctions. He voiced hope that the U.S. will realize that sanctions won't work.
The Kremlin has responded to anti-Russian sanctions approved by the U.S. Congress by ordering sharp cuts of the U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has commended North Korea for recent restraint in provocations that he said could point the way to possible dialogue with the U.S.
Tillerson said North Korea has not launched missiles or other provocations since the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution against weapons development on Aug. 5.
He told reporters that demonstrated "a level of restraint that we have not seen in the past."
Tillerson expressed hope that it could signal a North Korean willingness to lessen tensions and that, "perhaps we are seeing our pathway" to a dialogue in the near future.
He added, however: "We need to see more on their part."
Tensions were running high after the U.N. adopted new sanctions and after recent threats by the two nations' leaders.
The Trump administration is imposing sanctions on 16 mainly Chinese and Russian companies and people for assisting North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs and helping the North make money to support those programs.
The Treasury Department says the penalties are intended to further isolate North Korea for its nuclear and missile tests.
The 16 do business with previously sanctioned companies and people, work with the North Korean energy sector, help it place workers abroad or evade international financial curbs.
The measures block any assets they may have in U.S. jurisdictions and bar Americans from transactions with them.
Those sanctioned include six Chinese companies, two Singapore-based companies that sell oil to North Korea, a Russian company, four Russian nationals and a construction company based in Namibia.