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N.K. blacklisted envoy in Myanmar to return home

All News 19:13 March 10, 2016

SEOUL, March 10 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean envoy to Myanmar will return home after South Korea and the United States have blacklisted him as part of their respective sanctions on the communist regime, a government official said Thursday.

Kim Sok-chol, Pyongyang's ambassador to the Southeast Asian country, was among the 38 North Korean officials that Seoul blacklisted Tuesday as part of its unilateral measure to punish the isolated state for its Jan. 6 nuclear test and Feb. 7 long-range rocket launch.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Treasury Department has also blacklisted Kim, who has been suspected of being linked to the Korea Mining Development Corporation, a North Korean firm suspected of trading illicit weapons in Myanmar.

"We understand that Kim will return to his country the middle of this month," an official at Seoul's Foreign Ministry said, declining to be named. The official added that he was not aware of the exact reason why Kim will return to the North.

According to U.N. Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2270, a U.N. member state is to deport any North Korean diplomat engaged in any illicit activities. The UNSC adopted the sanctions resolution last Wednesday to punish its latest provocations.

Some observers argue that Kim, who has served in Myanmar since 2007, would return home as his term is to end soon. But others say that the argument is not persuasive given that North Korean diplomats do not have a fixed term in serving overseas diplomatic missions.

The North restored its diplomatic relations with Myanmar in 2007, 24 years after they severed their ties due to Pyongyang's 1983 terrorist bombing in Yangon.


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