May 20, 2016 09:18
Switzerland has imposed comprehensive sanctions on North Korea, freezing all North Korean assets and closing bank branches and accounts there.
The sanctions, which went into force at 6 p.m. Wednesday, cover a wide range of areas such as finance, exports and imports, aviation and shipping, and education.
They most likely lock in leader Kim Jong-un's slush funds in Swiss banks and ban export of luxury goods he favors such as watches and ski equipment.
Kim went to school in Switzerland for about five years in his teens.
The sanctions make it impossible for North Koreans to withdraw money which the regime deposited directly or indirectly in Swiss banks. Only the North Korean Embassy was granted an exception for its diplomatic activities.
Swiss banks cannot open new branches or subsidiaries in the North and have to close existing branches and related accounts by June 2. North Korean banks also have to close branches and accounts in Switzerland.
The export ban also covers sports goods like golf and bowling equipment. Exports of aviation fuel and imports of North Korean gold, coal, iron and rare earth metals are also banned, and all other exports to and imports from the North will be subject to tough customs checks.
Swiss airlines and shippers are banned from entering into lease or rental contracts with North Korean companies.
North Koreans can no longer study advanced physics and computer and nuclear engineering in Switzerland.
The Foreign Ministry here said the sanctions are in line with the most recent UN Security Council resolution against the North.
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