The Korea Herald


S. Korea updates its NK sanctions blacklist

By Jung Min-kyung

Published : Dec. 10, 2017 - 17:31

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More North Korean entities and individuals will be subjected to South Korea’s unilateral sanctions, as Seoul steps up efforts to curb the North‘s weapons development programs, Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday.

According to the Foreign Ministry, an additional 20 North Korean firms and 12 individuals will be subjected to Seoul‘s sanctions from Monday. 

North Korea`s North Korea`s "Hwasong-15" missile test on Nov. 29. (Yonhap)

“It is expected that the updated sanctions will block the inflow of illegal financial funding into North Korea and raise the risk of trading with such organizations and individuals,” a Foreign Ministry official said.

Organizations that will be added to the blacklist include Rason International Commercial Bank, Agricultural Development Bank, Cheil Credit Bank, International Industrial Bank, Koryo Commercial Bank, Korea Daebong Shipping Company and Yusong Shipping Company.

Named individuals are mostly North Korean agents and ranking bank officials including Kim Su-kwang, a North Korean intelligence agent based in Belarus, Kim Kyong-Hyok, a First Credit Bank representative in Shanghai, Pak Chol-nam, a First Credit Bank representative in Beijing, Ri Ho-nam, a Ryugyong Commercial Bank representative in Beijing, and Ji Sang-jun, an official of Korea Kumgang Group Bank in the United Arab Emirates.

The latest list is a follow-up to South Korea’s sanctions announced last month, a day ahead of US President Donald Trump’s state visit here. It is in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions that aims to cripple the North’s economic growth.

At a campaign-style rally in Alabama on Friday, Trump said he doesn’t know if the international sanctions will have an effect on Kim Jong-un, but added “we need to give it a shot.”

Seoul’s decision follows North Korea’s latest missile test on Nov. 29 and the UN’s call for Pyongyang to open dialogue channels “to reduce the risks of conflict,” made during Jeffrey Feltman’s visit to North Korea.

According to the UN, Feltman talked with Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho and Vice Minister Park Myong-guk, during his four-day visit there, said the statement. It is the first top-level trip by a UN official there since 2012.

The UN envoy also noted an “urgent need to prevent miscalculations” in the current situation and underlined the importance of the role of the UN Security Council resolutions. Both sides acknowledged the current situation as “the most tense and dangerous peace and security issue in the world today.”

“He also said there can only be a diplomatic solution to the situation, achieved through a process of sincere dialogue,” the UN said.

“Time is of the essence. They ... agreed that the current situation was the most tense and dangerous peace and security issue in the world today,” it added.

In response to the rare trip, North Korea has expressed its willingness to communicate regularly with the UN at various levels, via its state media Korean Central News Agency on Saturday.

“Recognizing that the present visit of the UN undersecretary-general contributed to deepening the understanding between (North Korea) and the UN Secretariat, both sides agreed on putting the communication through visits at a different level on a regular basis in the future,” the KCNA said.

But the KCNA added Pyongyang told the UN delegation that the current security issues on the Korean Peninsula were largely prompted by the US’ ongoing threat against its regime and its wish to launch a nuclear attack against them first. It also criticized the joint South Korea-US air force exercise last week, calling it a US message “revealing its intention to mount a surprise nuclear pre-emptive strike.”

Pyongyang has lambasted the regular drills as a dress rehearsal for invasion, despite the allies’ reiteration the exercises are defensive in nature.

UN officials said they will make efforts to alleviate tensions on the peninsula under the UN Charter, which is the organization’s foundational treaty upholding peace and security.

Pyongyang’s liftoff of what it claimed was a new type of ballistic missile, which several scientist and experts believe could reach the US mainland, has deepened the international community’s concerns over the North’s quickly developing weapons program.

The US has stressed the North’s unprecedented advance in its nuclear capabilities poses a serious threat to the regional security and warned Pyongyang will be dealt with potentially crippling consequences if war comes.

Hours after the test, the US ambassador to the UN warned that although the US is not seeking war with the isolated nation, the North Korean leadership would be “utterly destroyed” upon the potential outbreak of war.

“We have never sought war with North Korea, and still today we do not seek it,” Ambassador Nikki Haley said at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

“If war does come, it will be because of continued acts of aggression like we witnessed yesterday ... and if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.”

Trump‘s national security adviser H.R. McMaster also called North Korea “the greatest immediate threat to the US and the potential for war with the North is “increasing every day.”

In line with Feltman’s visit, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that Pyongyang is ready to start negotiations with Washington on security guarantees. Lavrov added that Russia is prepared to play a key role at the negotiating table between North Korea and the US.

On such talks however, the US State Department stuck to denuclearization as an essential precondition for establishment of a dialogue channel with the North.

“As a general matter the issue of direct talks with North Korea is not on the table until they are willing to denuclearize,” Heather Nauert, spokeswoman of the US State Department, said in a briefing Thursday.

“It is something that Russia has said it agrees with. It is something that China has said it agrees with and many other nations around the world as well.”

By Jung Min-kyung (