South Korea announced new sanctions on North Korea that target materials for its satellite program, turning up pressure on its neighbor following a barrage of ballistic missile launches in defiance of global measures banning the tests.
Seoul on Tuesday unveiled a “watch-list” of 77 items related to North Korea’s satellite development program, including optical components, solar panels, antennas and GPS devices. These items will be banned from export to North Korea, as part of the country’s export control measures.
“We have decided to take measures to respond to North Korea’s series of provocations, including the launch of a long-range ballistic missile on March 16th,” South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “North Korea’s provocations pose a serious threat to the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the international community.”
The move marks an expansion of Seoul’s sanctions on North Korea, which were extended to cyberspace last month. This is the first time that South Korea has released a list of materials that could curb North Korea’s satellite manufacturing.
Since there is almost no trade between the two Koreas, the sanctions will not have much of an immediate effect. However, they could be used as a guide for other countries to impose punishments on Pyongyang.
North Korea had fired off 13 ballistic missiles since Feb. 18, including two intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to strike the US and what appeared to be a new close-range ballistic missile designed to hit US bases in South Korea. The tests also included the apparent firsts tests of cruise missiles launched from a submarine as well as a mock nuclear warhead.
In addition to the sanctions on materials, South Korea has also designated four individuals and six institutions for their involvement in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, as part of its efforts to pressure the regime to abandon its atomic ambitions.
The individuals identified are Ri Yong Gil, a high-level Workers’ Party of Korea official; Kim Su Gil, a former director of the WPK’s General Political Bureau; Jung Sung Hwa, CEO of a North Korean IT company; and Tan Wee Beng, a Singaporean businessman who allegedly facilitated North Korea’s illicit financial activities, South Korean Foreign Ministry said.
Since October, South Korea has sanctioned a total of 35 individuals and 41 institutions over ties to North Korea.
Earlier this month, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned two North Korean nationals and three companies for illicitly raising money abroad on behalf of their country’s government. The entities, including Chilsong Trading Corp. and Korea Paekho Trading Corp., violated US sanctions policy meant to block funding for North Korea’s development of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles.
North Korea is barred by United Nations Security Council resolutions from conducting tests of its ballistic missiles and nuclear devices.
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