South Korea Slaps Own Sanctions on North After UN Resolution

  • Sanctions ban entry by ships that traveled to North Korea
  • Announcement comes during U.S.-South Korea military drills

South Korea announced a set of unilateral sanctions against North Korea, stepping up pressure following a United Nations Security Council resolution punishing the Pyongyang regime for a fourth nuclear test and a long-range rocket launch.

The sanctions include a ban on entry by vessels that have traveled to North Korea within the previous 180 days, and blacklist people and groups linked to North Korea’s development of weapons of mass destruction, Lee Suk Joon, an official at the Prime Minister’s Office, said Tuesday at a televised briefing.

The announcement comes a day after South Korea began its joint annual military drills with the U.S. -- exercises that North Korea call a rehearsal for war. Last week, the UN security council passed a resolution that requires inspection of all cargo entering or leaving North Korea. The Philippines said Saturday it had impounded a North Korean-controlled vessel.

“We expect our government’s measures to contribute greatly to blocking suspicious goods going in and out of North Korea,” Lee said. “As the party directly involved in North Korea’s nuclear and missile issue, our government is playing a leading role in strengthening international sanctions against North Korea.”

South Korea created a blacklist of North Korea-related companies that will be banned from doing business with South Korea. The list includes two Taiwanese companies, one Burmese, one Egyptian, one Singaporean and one firm from the Virgin Islands. The list also included one Singaporean and one Taiwanese businessmen.

Last year, 66 foreign ships with a log of making a call in North Korea traveled to South Korea, with most of them carrying steel and general merchandise, South Korea said. Lee also urged South Koreans to refrain from visiting North Korean restaurants abroad, from which the government in Pyongyang earns an estimated $10 million a year.

The UN resolution limits or bans North Korea’s exports of certain mineral resources, a key source of hard currency for Kim Jong Un’s regime, as well as imports of small arms. It bans financial institutions from opening new branches or accounts in the country and blacklists a number of North Koreans, including officials active in Iran, Syria and Vietnam.

North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6 and followed weeks later with a long-range rocket launch, which the UN views as a test of a ballistic missile that could eventually carry a nuclear warhead. South Korea shut down its jointly run industrial complex in North Korea after the rocket launch and North Korea has threatened “strong and merciless physical” actions against the U.S. and other nations over the UN resolution.

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