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(LEAD) S. Korea mulls 'various' sanctions on N. Korea

All Headlines 18:10 March 04, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with foreign minister's remarks, other details)

SEOUL, March 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Friday it is considering "various" unilateral sanctions against North Korea, including a ban on vessels entering its ports after sailing to the North.

The measures under consideration would be "even more painful" for the communist regime following the U.N. Security Council's (UNSC) adoption of a tough sanctions resolution earlier this week, Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said. The sanctions come in response to North Korea's nuclear and long-range rocket tests earlier this year.

"We will probably announce unilateral sanctions we have in mind in the relatively near future," he said in an interview on local broadcaster YTN. "They will include expanding existing sanctions in various ways and adding new ones, but from the perspective of cooperation among South Korea, the U.S., Japan, Australia and the EU, we plan to adopt even more painful unilateral sanctions as a directly involved party."

Possible sanctions include those related to shipping, such as an entry ban on ships that have visited the North, he added.

The new U.N. resolution has been touted as the strongest nonmilitary action taken by the international organization in its 70-year history. It calls for the mandatory inspection of all cargo going into and out of North Korea and a ban on the country's exports of coal and other mineral resources, among other things.

"The government, as the president said, is currently doing its best to create an environment in which North Korea will realize it can't possibly survive with nuclear (weapons) and will have no choice but to change," Jeong Joon-hee, spokesman for the Ministry of Unification, said during a regular press briefing.

"We are contemplating actual steps for this and reviewing various measures," he said, adding that a decision will likely be made soon.

South Korea already has a wide array of sanctions in place over the North's sinking of a South Korean warship in 2010.

Last month, it also shut down an inter-Korean industrial park in the North's border city of Kaesong in response to the North firing a long-range rocket on Feb. 7.

According to North Korean state media, leader Kim Jong-un on Thursday ordered the country's nuclear arsenal on standby, apparently in anger over the new U.N. sanctions.

"North Korea is expressing its determination and defiance in the face of the U.N. sanctions, and the remarks are likely aimed at strengthening the regime," Jeong said.

hague@yna.co.kr
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