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S. Korea closely working with allies on unilateral sanctions against N.K.: foreign minister

All Headlines 16:47 October 13, 2016

SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is closely working with major allies in preparing unilateral sanctions against North Korea following its latest nuclear test, the country's top diplomat said Thursday, adding that more important than the U.N. action is how tough the punitive measures by individual countries will be.

"There is a more important thing you have to see along with the U.N. Security Council resolution," Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said during a parliamentary audit. "That is unilateral sanctions by such major allies for South Korea as the U.S., Japan and the European Union that can be adopted at the appropriate time."

He said that those measures by individual countries are "highly likely" to include much stronger elements than those adopted in the wake of the North's fourth nuclear test in January.

Currently, the U.N. Security Council is working on a fresh resolution to punish the North's fifth nuclear test conducted on Sept. 9. Yun earlier said that South Korea is considering "much stronger" sanctions of its own against the North.

"For this matter, we are closely working with relevant countries on what should be adopted and when they should be announced," he said, adding that the impact of all measures combined would be as powerful as those imposed on Iran in the past.

Asked whether South Korea is considering a "regime change" in Pyongyang as it pushes forward its North Korea policy, Yun denied any such idea. He, instead, brought attention to the North Korean regime's oppressive rule and abject human rights situation in the country.

"Our government has never mentioned a regime change," he said. "However, not just South Korea but also the international community takes it seriously that human rights have been suppressed and oppressive rule has been intensified under the Kim Jong-un regime."

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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