U.S. imposes sanctions targeting North Korea's missile program

FILE PHOTO: The U.S. flag flies in front of the Capitol Dome at the U.S. Capitol in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States has imposed sanctions on two Russian companies and a North Korean entity for transferring sensitive items to North Korea's missile program, the State Department said on Thursday.

It named the Russian entities as the Ardis Group of Companies LLC (Ardis Group) and PFK Profpodshipnik LLC. The North Korean entity targeted for sanctions was named as the Second Academy of Natural Science Foreign Affairs Bureau.

In addition, Russian national Igor Aleksandrovich Michurin and North Korean national Ri Sung Chol were also sanctioned, the State Department said.

The sanctions announcement came on the same day North Korea said it tested a new, powerful type of intercontinental ballistic missile.

"These measures are part of our ongoing efforts to impede the DPRK’s ability to advance its missile program and they highlight the negative role Russia plays on the world stage as a proliferator to programs of concern," State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement, referring to North Korea by the initials of its official name.

The United States also sanctioned Zhengzhou Nanbei Instrument Equipment Co Ltd for supplying Syria with equipment controlled by a chemical and biological weapons nonproliferation regime known as the Australia Group.

The State Department said the sanctions on the Chinese company underscored Beijing's shortcomings in implementing export controls and its nonproliferation track record.

(Reporting by Eric BeechEditing by Chris Reese)