Russia, China adopt sanctions on N. Korea's flight services: ministry
SEOUL, March 30 (Yonhap) -- Russia and China have recently adopted punitive measures affecting North Korea's aviation industry in a bid to mount pressure on the regime following its series of military provocations, the foreign ministry here said Thursday.
"Last May, the European Union banned North Korean airplanes or airplanes that depart from North Korea from landing on the territory of or flying in the airspace of the EU member countries," Cho June-hyuck, spokesman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a press briefing.
An Air Koryo plane (Yonhap file photo)
He also referred to the U.S. and South Korea's decisions in December to put North Korea's sole airline Air Koryo on their sanctions lists as well as Australia's on-going push to halt its flight service assistance to the North Korean air carrier, involving technology, training and financial support.
"As the outcome of the lead by South Korea, the U.S. and EU, Russian air carrier Aeroflot has recently suspended its code-sharing arrangement (with North Korea) and Air China, the only foreign airline servicing the North Korean route, is reportedly set to stop its flights to North Korea from mid-April," the spokesman noted.
"This series of actions taken marks a meaningful step that took into account concerns that Air Koryo is being used in North Korea's illegal activities," he said, also referring to Thailand and Kuwait's suspension of their air routes to the North last year.
Cho also pointed to growing sanctions efforts in the Central and South America with which, he said, North Korea is making a point of increasing ties in order to escape its worsening isolation from the rest of the world.
"Yesterday, the government of Ecuador announced withdrawal of its visa-waiver policy with North Korea," he said. "It was a very notable action given that the Ecuadorian government has kept an ideological bond with North Korea."
He said the recent action is in line with the condemnatory stances over North Korea's recent provocations announced by the Caribbean community as well as Nicaragua, a traditional ally of North Korea.