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Seoul's NK sanctions to be 'expanded' version of previous ones: official

2016/12/01 12:16

SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's unilateral action aimed at punishing North Korea for its recent nuclear test will be an expanded version of Seoul's existing sanctions designed to get Pyongyang to give up its nuclear and missile development programs, a government official said Thursday.

Seoul is set to announce a fresh set of sanctions on Friday, just two days after the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) adopted a new package to penalize the reclusive state for moving forward with its fifth nuclear test in September.

The announcement will be made by the prime minister's office.

An official at Seoul's unification ministry declined to reveal details, but he said that the upcoming punitive steps will be an updated version of the unilateral sanctions imposed in March.

On March 8, South Korea unveiled its own sanctions, including an entry ban at South Korean ports of vessels that have visited the North, about a week after the UNSC slapped its toughest-ever sanctions on Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile provocations early this year.

It also blacklisted scores of key North Korean officials and organizations suspected of being involved in the development of its nuclear and missile programs. But the North's leader Kim Jong-un and his younger sister Kim Yo-jong were not included on the list.

Touching on the latest U.N. sanctions, the official said that the resolution reflected efforts to close loopholes found in the previous resolution.

On Wednesday, the UNSC decided to impose a significant cap on Pyongyang's exports of coal and slap on other restrictions in a bid to cut off major sources of hard currency for the regime.

Under the March resolution, North Korea's coal exports for "livelihood" purposes were allowed, an exception that has been exploited by the country.

The government official said North Korea's trade with China rose by a smaller-than-expected pace this year from a year earlier, possibly affected by a set of U.N. sanctions.

North Korea's trade with China rose 2.7 percent on-year to US$3.33 billion in the April-October period, the official said, citing data by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).