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(LEAD) S. Korea to unveil its own sanctions on N. Korea this week

All News 11:10 March 07, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES with more info in paras 3, 7-13)

SEOUL, March 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Monday it will announce its own punitive steps against North Korea this week over its latest nuclear and missile tests, lending support to the latest United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions.

The government plans to unveil its sanctions against the North on Tuesday afternoon in response to North Korea's nuclear test in January and long-range locket launch last month, according to the Prime Minister's Office.

Measures to be announced are believed to include banning the entry of vessels that have traveled through North Korea and blacklisting more North Koreans and entities suspected of developing weapons of mass destruction.

On Wednesday, the UNSC unanimously adopted a fresh resolution to punish Pyongyang for its latest provocations.

The resolution calls for mandatory inspections of all cargo going into and out of North Korea and a ban on exports of mineral resources, a major source of hard currency for the cash-strapped country.

Last month, Seoul carried out its toughest non-military sanctions by shutting down a joint industrial complex in the North's border city of Kaesong. The move was aimed at preventing money generated from the factory zone from being funneled into the North's nuke and missile programs.

In February, Japan imposed its own fresh sanctions on North Korea by banning the entry of North Korea-flagged ships and vessels that have traveled via the North into Japanese ports.

If Seoul takes similar steps, there is a high possibility that a trilateral logistics project involving the two Koreas and Russia could be put on hold. South Korea has already banned North Korean-flagged vessels from entering the South's ports.

The so-called Rajin-Khasan logistics project calls for the shipment of Russian coal into South Korea through the North Korean port city of Rajin.

Seoul has suspended talks over whether to clinch a formal contract with Russia over the project since North Korea's long-range rocket launch, a move seen as a banned test for ballistic missile technology.

The initiative involves three South Korean firms, including top steelmaker POSCO, while the government provides necessary support.

"The government is studying (whether to proceed with the project) after examining the goals of the latest U.N. sanctions and Seoul's envisioned punitive actions," Jeong Joon-hee, a spokesman at the Unification Ministry, told a regular press briefing.

Russia has claimed that the logistics project is not affected by the UNSC's new sanctions, stressing the need to push ahead with it.


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