Seoul Blacklists Top N.Korean Officials

      March 09, 2016 09:32

      Seoul on Tuesday blacklisted senior North Korean officials including Kim Yong-chol, who was allegedly responsible for the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in 2010.

      South Korea will also bar any ships that have docked in North Korean ports in the last six months and imports of North Korean products labeled as originating from China or Russia.

      The separate measures announced Tuesday come on the heels of newly imposed UN Security Council sanctions in response to Pyongyang's nuclear test in January and space rocket launch last month.

      Altogether Seoul blacklisted 40 individuals and 30 organizations that are suspected of involvement in the North Korean nuclear and missile programs. The government added more targets to a blacklist drawn up by the U.S., Japan and European Union, which covers 18 individuals and 17 organizations.

      South Koreans are prohibited from engaging in financial transactions with those targets and their assets here will be frozen. But the blacklisted people and organizations rarely conduct any business with South Korea, which makes the sanctions largely symbolic.

      "The measures must be viewed as expressing our determination to stop North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile programs," a government official here said.

      The statement announcing the sanction does not contain the word "dialogue," signaling a shift to a more hardline stance in dealing with the North.

      The government has already urged South Koreans to avoid North Korean restaurants and other money-making venues run by the North overseas.

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