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Switzerland hits North Korea with tough sanctions

The law targets luxury goods and freezes Pyongyang’s bank accounts.

By
Elizabeth Shim
Kim Jong Un has used Swiss-made luxury goods to reward his loyal support base, but a new ban may prevent the export of the items from Switzerland. File Photo by Rodong Sinmun
Kim Jong Un has used Swiss-made luxury goods to reward his loyal support base, but a new ban may prevent the export of the items from Switzerland. File Photo by Rodong Sinmun

SEOUL, May 18 (UPI) -- Switzerland is applying powerful and comprehensive financial sanctions on North Korea.

The new policy went into effect Wednesday, and includes the freezing and closing of North Korea-related bank accounts in the European country, Radio Free Asia reported.

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The measure covers many areas of economic activity, including banking, trade, ship and aircraft operations.

Swiss bank accounts belonging either directly or indirectly to members of North Korea's Workers' Party are to be frozen.

The only exception to the rule is accounts belonging to the North Korea diplomatic mission in Switzerland, according to the report.

The sanctions also ban Swiss financial institutions from opening branches in North Korea. Any existing businesses are to close by a deadline of June 2. North Korean banks active in Switzerland should also close operations, according to the law.

The embargo is expected to hit the luxury goods sector as well.

Swiss-made watches, snowmobiles, skis and golfing equipment must pass a clearance check if they are headed for North Korea.

Such goods have been reportedly used by the Kim Jong Un regime to foster loyalty among his supporters.

Jet fuel exports are to be banned and Swiss enterprises are prohibited from importing gold, coal, iron and rare earth minerals from North Korea.

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North Koreans studying in Switzerland are also the target of sanctions.

Individuals who are North Korean passport holders are to be banned from enrolling in advanced physics, computer science and nuclear engineering courses at Swiss institutions.

Military training for North Korean officers in the country is also prohibited, according to the report.

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