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(Yonhap Interview) New UNSC resolution carries 'full-scale, super-strong' sanctions on N.K.: FM

All Headlines 10:38 March 03, 2016

GENEVA, March 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said Thursday that the newly adopted U.N. Security Council (UNSC) resolution on North Korea entails "full-scale super-strong" sanctions rather than selective ones, despite last-minute changes.

In an interview with Yonhap News Agency, Yun said that the last minute modifications that were made at the request of Russia can scarcely blunt the originally proposed sanctions, which Seoul has welcomed as the "strongest-ever" non-military measures in the seven decades of the U.N.'s history.

The international sanctions, along with bilateral sanctions to be enforced by the United States, Japan, the European Union and other nations, will deal a "considerable blow" to the communist regime seeking to advance its nuclear and missile programs, Yun stressed.

"The resolution that the Security Council adopted this time carries super-strong sanctions to the extent that (you can) ignore the modifications," he said. "The sanctions are not selective ones, and they consist of measures that would bring about 'bone-numbing' outcomes that the North Korean government couldn't ever imagine in the past."

His remarks came after the UNSC adopted Resolution 2270 to punish the North for its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6 and its long-range missile launch on Feb. 7, and to curb its weapons programs through a fresh package of stringent sanctions.

The new measures require mandatory inspection of all cargo going into and out of the North, regardless of whether by land, sea or air, while banning its exports of coal, iron and other mineral resources, a key source of hard currency that accounts for nearly half of the country's aggregate exports to China.

A set of exceptions were added to the original sanctions package at the request of Russia. The exceptions allow transshipments of Russian coal through the North Korean port of Rajin, and North Korean civilian aircraft to be able to refuel overseas to return to the North.

These changes, however, would not undermine the efficacy of the comprehensive sanctions, Yun pointed out.

"The essence of the sanctions that hit the North remains intact (despite the modifications)," he said.

Asked how Seoul will deal with Beijing's strenuous opposition to the potential deployment of THAAD, an advanced U.S. missile defense asset, to Korea, he stressed the crux of the issue is the North's evolving nuclear and missile threats.

"It is about our response to North Korea's nuclear and missile threats and we do not have any other country in mind," he said. "(Deployment of THAAD) is being considered just in the light of self-defense."

Seoul and Washington are poised to set up a joint working group to discuss the potential deployment of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery in South Korea, which Beijing and Moscow argue could potentially target them.

Regarding Pyongyang's repeated overtures for talks over a peace treaty to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, the minister reiterated that the top priority should be placed on the dismantlement of the North's nuclear and missile programs.
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