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(2nd LD) S. Korea to unveil its own sanctions on N. Korea this week

All News 14:40 March 07, 2016

(ATTN: REWRITES lead, para 3; ADDS more details in paras 7, 10)

SEOUL, March 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Monday it will announce its own punitive steps against North Korea this week over the North's latest nuclear and missile tests, following newly-imposed United Nations Security Council 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 likely to include banning the entry of vessels that have traveled through North Korea and blacklisting North Koreans and third-party 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 the 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 yet by shutting down a joint industrial complex in the North's border city of Kaesong. The move was aimed at preventing money generated by the factory zone from being funneled into the North's nuke and missile programs.

Seoul's envisioned punitive actions will add to its existing sanctions imposed in May 2010 to punish the country for the sinking of a South Korean warship.

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 to Japanese ports.

If Seoul takes similar steps, there is the 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 or passing through South Korean territorial waters under the 2010 sanctions.

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 for the project since North Korea's long-range rocket launch, a move seen as a way to circumvent a ban on tests of 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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