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South Korea announces new sanctions against Pyongyang, a day ahead of Donlad Trump' visit to Seoul

Seoul: South Korea announced new unilateral sanctions against Pyongyang the first under president Moon Jae-In on Monday, a day before US president Donald Trump arrives in Seoul on an Asian tour dominated by the North's nuclear programme.

A total of 18 North Korean bankers stationed in China, Russia and Libya with suspected links to the regime's weapons programmes have been blacklisted, a statement posted on the South's government website showed.

File image of South Korean president Moon Jae-In. AP

File image of South Korean president Moon Jae-In. AP

"Those individuals have worked overseas, representing North Korean banks and getting involved in supplying money needed to develop weapons of mass destruction," Seoul's foreign ministry said in a statement.

All 18 have already been sanctioned by the US, and the announcement came a day before Trump who has accused South Korea's dovish President Moon Jae-In of "appeasement" was due to arrive in Seoul.

The measures were Seoul's first unilateral sanctions under Moon, who took office in May vowing a peaceful resolution to the nuclear standoff and declared a willingness to visit Pyongyang under "the right circumstances". The move bars South Korean individuals and entities from transacting with those on the list. It will be largely symbolic given a lack of inter-Korean economic ties, but is likely to draw an angry response from Pyongyang.

It also follows a new round of sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council in September following the North's sixth nuclear test and a flurry of missile launches in recent months.

Last year, South Korea unilaterally closed operations at the jointly-run Kaesong Industrial Complex, saying cash from the zone was being funnelled to the North's weapons programme. The complex was the last remaining form of North-South economic cooperation. Seoul banned nearly all business with the North in 2010 after accusing Pyongyang of sinking one of its warships.


Updated Date: Nov 06, 2017 11:28 AM

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