The United States on Thursday imposed additional sanctions on North Korea in the wake of its launch of a spy satellite last week, in coordination with Australia, Japan and South Korea.

The U.S. Treasury Department said eight individuals who facilitate sanctions evasion to assist North Korea's weapons development and one hacking group that gathers intelligence for Pyongyang will be targeted.

It is the first-ever coordinated imposition of sanctions against North Korea by the four countries, according to the U.S. State Department.

File photo taken in June 2022 shows the U.S. Treasury Department building in Washington. (Kyodo) 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement the launch "used ballistic missile technology in contravention of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions and directly undermined regional and global security."

The eight have been working in countries such as China and Russia as agents for North Korea, helping it to secure money and technology necessary for its development of ballistic missiles and other weapons, the department said.

The cyber espionage group is Kimsuky, affiliated with North Korea's Reconnaissance General Bureau, which the U.S. department said is in charge of stealing sensitive information from people employed by government agencies, think tanks and media outlets in countries such as Japan, South Korea and the United States.

North Korea has claimed the Nov. 21 launch allowed it to place its first reconnaissance satellite into orbit.

North Korea's use of "overseas laborers, money launderers, cyber espionage and illicit funding continue to threaten international security and our allies in the region," Brian Nelson, undersecretary of the treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.

"We will remain focused on targeting these key nodes in (Pyongyang's) illicit revenue generation and weapons proliferation," he said.

The targeted individuals are associated with North Korea's state-backed weapons exporters, financial institutions and front companies, according to the Treasury Department.

They include Green Pine Associated Corp., which is controlled by the North Korean spy bureau and is already sanctioned by the United States and the United Nations.

The United States says the company is responsible for about half of North Korea's exports of arms and related materials.

Japan said it has blacklisted five individuals and four groups, including Kimsuky, as additional targets of North Korea-related sanctions in Tokyo's coordinated action with the three partners.

South Korea, meanwhile, said its unilateral sanctions were imposed on 11 North Korean individuals involved in Pyongyang's satellite and ballistic missile development.

The country's Foreign Ministry said that Australia's participation for the first time in this kind of collaboration with Seoul, Tokyo and Washington shows that the international community is strengthening its commitment to "not sit idly by and ignore North Korea's repeated provocations."

Related coverage:

U.S. imposes sanctions on virtual currency mixer over North Korea links

U.N. Security Council split over North Korea spy satellite launch

North Korea's Kim inspects satellite photos of "major target regions"