Seoul slaps fresh sanctions on Pyongyang, blacklisting 18 North Korean bankers

NNA – South Korea on Monday announced a fresh set of unilateral sanctions against Pyongyang, a day before U.S. President Donald Trump arrives in Seoul on an Asian tour dominated by the North’s nuclear program.

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

“Those individuals have worked overseas, representing North Korean banks and getting involved in supplying money needed to develop weapons of mass destruction,” an official at Seoul’s foreign ministry said, according to Yonhap news agency.

All 18 have already been sanctioned by the U.S., and the announcement came a day before Trump — who has accused South Korean President Moon Jae-In of “appeasement” was due to arrive in Seoul.

The latest 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 U.N. 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 the cash from the factory zone was being funneled to the North’s weapons program.

The Kaesong Industrial Complex was the last remaining form of North-South economic cooperation, as Seoul banned nearly all business with the North in 2010 after blaming Pyongyang for the sinking of one of its naval corvettes.–AFP

=================R.H.

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