A high-ranking U.S. sanctions official asked South Korea Tuesday to join Washington-led efforts to impose tougher sanctions against Russia, sources here said.
Peter Harrell, deputy secretary for counter threat finance and sanctions at the U.S. State Department, made the request during a meeting with South Korean foreign ministry officials, according to the sources.
He arrived in Seoul on Monday for a two-day visit aimed at informing Seoul of Washington’s recent moves to slap sanctions on Russia following Moscow’s recent meddling in Ukraine and its suspected involvement in the downing of a Malaysian passenger jet earlier this month.
|Peter Harrell, deputy assistant secretary for counter threat finance and sanctions at the U.S. State Department (Yonhap)|
Explaining the recent U.S. sanctions, Harrell highlighted the importance of South Korea joining the punitive action, the sources said on condition of anonymity.
The U.S. has taken a series of sanctions against Russia’s oil, gas and bank sectors since the start of the Ukraine crisis in March.
Harrell also briefed South Korean officials on Washington’s future sanctions plan, the sources noted.
In addition to the punitive action related to the Ukraine issue, the U.S. reportedly called for Seoul’s cooperation in the on-going Western moves to punish Russia for its alleged involvement in the shooting down of the Malaysian flight MH17 earlier this month.
On July 17, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, while en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down by a surface-to-air missile in war-torn Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board, with many in the international community believing that Russia played a role in the attack.
On Monday, U.S., Germany, Britain, France and Italy agreed to impose joint sanctions targeting Russia’s energy, arms and financial sectors.
Seoul reportedly conveyed its official stance over the Russian issue to the U.S. side in the Tuesday meeting and checked possible repercussions the Western countries’ anti-Moscow sanctions would have on South Korean firms.
Seoul has previously denounced Russia for its annexation of what has been the Ukraine territory, but its commercial and diplomatic relations with Russia have been keeping Seoul from taking any concrete punitive steps. (Yonhap)