South Korea sanctions Pyongyang

The first unilateral restrictions in five years come in response to the North’s recent missile tests

South Korea has sanctioned North Korea over its recent flurry of missile tests, the first such move in almost five years, the nation’s Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

“We strongly condemn North Korea’s latest series of missile provocations of unprecedented frequency and introducing the use of tactical nukes against us,” the ministry stated.

It went on to say Seoul would blacklist 15 North Korean individuals and 16 organizations that contributed to Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development programs and helped it to evade sanctions.

The list targets the North Korean rocket industry ministry, its marine ministry, the crude oil industry ministry, a branch of North Korean carrier Air Koryo, and several shipping companies.

The Foreign Ministry stated that all the mentioned individuals and organizations had already been sanctioned by the US between December 2016 and May 2022.

It also noted that the additional sanctions would help to block and reduce “illegal money transactions”. The move will also serve to “enhance cooperation with such [South Korean] allies as the US, Japan, and Australia,” which had been insistent on introducing unilateral sanctions.

The last time the South imposed unilateral sanctions on its northern neighbor was in December 2017, when the nation blacklisted 20 organizations and 12 individuals to respond to the testing of a Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

On Wednesday, North Korea said it had successfully tested two cruise missiles, which it claimed had hit targets 2,000km away. This week, North Korean nuclear forces also reported successfully completing a test simulating the loading of tactical warheads into a hidden silo.

According to Pyongyang’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the latest test was part of North Korean drills meant to ensure that it could “wipe out” potential South Korean and US targets.

On Monday, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol warned that the region faces a “grave security reality” amid Pyongyang’s nuclear saber-rattling.

North Korea’s recent ballistic missile launches came in response to large-scale military exercises by the US and South Korea, KCNA said. Kim Jong-un warned that “irresponsible aggravation of the situation by the US and South Korean regimes” would trigger an even stronger response by Pyongyang.

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