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(2nd LD) S. Korea vows to join sanctions on Russia in case of full-scale Ukraine invasion

All News 16:07 February 24, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with details)
By Kim Eun-jung and Song Sang-ho

SEOUL, Feb. 24 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will join international sanctions on Russia if Moscow launches a "full-fledged" war with Ukraine, Seoul's foreign ministry said Thursday.

Seoul's first such statement on its possible sanctions enforcement came as Moscow mounted an expected attack on Ukraine in defiance of global warnings and condemnation.

"The (South Korean) government has no other option but to join sanctions against Russia, including export controls" if Russia goes ahead with a full-fledged war in any form despite repeated warnings from the international community, the ministry said in a text message sent to reporters.

The message marked a shift from Seoul's earlier show of cautiousness on the issue of joining multinational sanctions on Moscow -- its crucial partner for peace on the Korean Peninsula, trade and other exchanges.

The previous day, Seoul officials struck a cautious note, only saying they were leaving the possibilities of "various options" open.

Asked what would constitute a "full-fledged" war -- a threshold for Seoul's participation in anti-Moscow sanctions, Choi Young-sam, the ministry's spokesperson, refused to give a direct answer.

"At this point, our government is paying keen attention to the situation in Ukraine," he told a regular press briefing. "We'd like to refrain from making predictions as to specific scenarios."

South Korea has been in consultations with the United States and other allies on responses to the Ukrainian conflict.

Washington and its European allies have already rolled out sanctions targeting Russian elites and two banks while warning of more stinging retaliatory steps to be invoked in case of further escalation.

The U.S. has also warned that it could employ export curbs to block Russia's access to key technologies crucial for its economy. Moreover, it could even envision curbing the export to Russia of foreign-made goods using American technologies, observers said.

Expectations have risen that Washington may call for Seoul's cooperation over its sanctions-centric approach, as South Korea has exported cars, electronics and other high-tech products to Russia.

Seoul will consider all available options to minimize the potential impact on the economy and damages on Korean businesses from such measures, the foreign ministry said.

Meanwhile, Ponommarenko Dmytro, Ukraine's new ambassador to South Korea, visited the ministry and submitted a copy of his credentials Thursday.

Ponommarenko Dmytro, Ukraine's new ambassador to South Korea, visits Seoul's foreign ministry on Feb. 24, 2022, to submit his credentials. (Yonhap)

Ponommarenko Dmytro, Ukraine's new ambassador to South Korea, visits Seoul's foreign ministry on Feb. 24, 2022, to submit his credentials. (Yonhap)

ejkim@yna.co.kr
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