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S. Korea considers adopting unilateral sanctions on N. Korea ahead of U.N. resolution

All Headlines 13:56 October 12, 2016

SEOUL, Oct. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is reviewing whether the country would announce its own sanctions on North Korea ahead of a new United Nations resolution in the event of a major delay in its adoption, a government source said Wednesday.

According to the source, the government has taken the stance that it will go ahead with imposing an independent set of sanctions in response to North Korea's fifth nuclear test on Sept. 9 if the U.N. Security Council drags its feet in adopting a resolution.

The government decision is grounded in its judgment that punitive action should be taken over the recent nuclear test before too much time elapses.

Veto-yielding China, a traditional ally and key sponsor of North Korea, is reportedly opposed to the UNSC's push to adopt an all-encompassing resolution against the communist regime, apparently in fear of political instability.

China's Amb. to the U.N. Liu Jieyi indicated in a recent interview that North Koreans' well-being and humanitarian needs should not be affected by U.N. sanctions, alluding to China's objection to a watertight resolution by the UNSC.

Amid the division at the U.N. panel, South Korea has been pushing for an early imposition of unilateral sanctions against Pyongyang, with an eye to keeping up the international momentum for anti-North Korea pressure.

The tentative South Korean sanctions reportedly encompass North Korea's financial, shipping, trade and immigration sectors, as well as individual sanctions on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the top leadership.

Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said earlier in the week that "Our government is reviewing a set of unilateral sanctions, which will be far tougher than what was adopted in March," referring to Seoul's previous independent sanctions taken in response to North Korea's nuclear test in January.

Foreign ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck said on Tuesday the U.S., Japan and the European Union are in close cooperation with Seoul with regard to unilateral sanctions, adding that "They will be announced publicly as soon as they are fixed."

pbr@yna.co.kr
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