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South Korea sanctions to target North Korea's finances

Sanctioned individuals include a top North Korean official connected to the development of weapons of mass destruction, according to Seoul.

By Elizabeth Shim
South Korea sanctions to target North Korea's finances
A North Korean woman and hostess stand outside a North Korean restaurant waiting for customers in Dandong, China's largest border city with North Korea. South Korea’s latest sanctions strongly advised against patronizing North Korea-owned restaurants, a source of revenue for the Kim Jong Un regime. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, March 8 (UPI) -- South Korea adopted financial and maritime restrictions against the North on Tuesday, including a provision that advised against a popular South Korean tourist pastime – dining at North Korea-owned restaurants overseas.

The unilateral sanctions target 24 North Korean organizations, six third-country firms that have a history of North Korea dealings and blacklist 38 North Korean nationals and three third-country individuals, Yonhap reported.

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Chief among those individuals is Kim Yong Chul, a top North Korean military official, who, according to Seoul, is one of the people responsible for the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan, the bombardment of a South Korean island near a disputed maritime border, and the landmine provocations last August.

South Korea's Government Policy Coordination Office Minister Lee Suk-joon told reporters Kim has been connected to the development of weapons of mass destruction, and as the North has shown no signs of stopping, "now is the time to strengthen pressure and sanctions."

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Of the firms that have been placed under South Korea's latest sanctions, 17 have been blacklisted by the governments of the United States, Japan, Australia and the European Union.

Major North Korean organizations, including Ilsim International Bank, Korea Foreign Technical Trade Center and Korea Pioneer Technology General Corp., and their financial transactions, are the target of the new sanctions.

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Maritime sanctions are to ban third-country ships that included North Korea as a stopover from entering South Korean ports.

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Any individuals found to be engaged in transactions with blacklisted entities face a fine of up to $250,000 or three years of imprisonment, and South Korean tourists were advised against patronizing North Korean businesses abroad, including restaurants that often include after-dinner entertainment.

Ruling party lawmaker Shin Eui-jin welcomed the latest sanctions and said the measures were essential in actively implementing U.N. Security Council resolutions.

"The government did the right deed, in order to protect the lives and property of the South Korean people," Shin said, according to local news service News 1.

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