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(2nd LD) Park calls for additional sanctions on N. Korea

2016/03/07 16:11

(ATTN: UPDATES with quote)

SEOUL, March 7 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye urged officials on Monday to take steps to ensure that U.N. member states can impose additional sanctions on North Korea to rein in its nuclear and missile programs.

The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a new resolution last week to punish North Korea for its fourth nuclear test and long-range rocket launch earlier in the year.

The tough sanctions are, among other things, meant to cut off North Korea's access to hard currency, which South Korea and other regional powers say are being used to bankroll Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

"Now, what matters is to thoroughly implement the Security Council sanctions to make sure that North Korea will abandon its nuclear program and move toward change," Park said in a regular meeting with her top aides at Cheong Wa Dae, South Korea's presidential office.

Park also asked top officials to closely cooperate with U.N member states in the implementation of the sanctions and to "continue to make efforts for bilateral and multilateral sanctions."

   Her comments came as South Korea is preparing to slap its own punitive measures on North Korea on Tuesday.

The measures are likely to include banning the entry of vessels that have traveled through North Korea and blacklisting North Koreans and entities suspected of being involved in developing weapons of mass destruction.

South Korea has already pulled the plug on a factory park that it had jointly run with North Korea in the communist country's border city of Kaesong, a decision widely seen as Seoul's determination against the North's provocations.

South Korea has suspected that most of around US$560 million Seoul paid to North Korea through the joint factory park ended up supporting the isolationist country's nuclear and missile programs.

North Korea threatened to take military counteraction and go into a preemptive attack mode in response to the largest joint military drills being held by South Korea and the U.S.

The North claims the joint military drills are a rehearsal for a nuclear war against it.

Park also called on officials to thoroughly cope with any possible cyber attacks from North Korea and to make efforts for parliamentary endorsement of a bill meant to prevent cyber attacks.

North Korea has a track record of waging cyber attacks on South Korea and the United States in recent years, though it has flatly denied any involvement.

South Korea's intelligence agency said it plans to hold an emergency meeting on cybersecurity on Tuesday, citing possible cyberattacks from North Korea.

The meeting "is designed to check the readiness" of the government in coping with hacking attacks by North Korea, according to the National Intelligence Service.