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S. Korea is hesitant to impose independent sanctions against Russia

S. Korea is hesitant to impose independent sanctions against Russia

Posted February. 26, 2022 07:41,   

Updated February. 26, 2022 07:41


The U.S. announced a series of export controls against Russia, but South Korea was not included on a list of allies joining the U.S.-led sanctions. Although the South Korean government announced that it would participate in international sanctions on Russia, it was not on the list of allies and partners joining the sanctions. Considering that the U.S. had reportedly shared detailed intelligence on the Ukraine crisis with the South Korean government since early this month, some are pointing out that Washington might have expressed its discontent with Seoul over its unwillingness to take action.

The U.S. Commerce Department on Thursday (local time) announced sweeping restrictions on exports to Russia and said the European Union (EU), Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand are among the countries that join the U.S.-led restrictions. South Korean was not on the list. South Korea was not included when a senior White House official earlier said on Tuesday (local time) that the U.S. had consulted with its allies regarding sanctions against Russia.

The U.S. persuaded South Korea to join sanctions against Russia by sharing detailed information, ranging from political situation to export controls against Russia, but the South Korean government has been hesitant to participate due to economic impact. It was on Thursday, when Russian forces stormed Ukraine, that South Korean President Moon Jae-in suggested that South Korea will join the sanctions, sending support for the efforts of the international community to deter Russia’s armed aggression and resolve the situation peacefully.

The South Korean government, however, is still discussing when or how it will join the sanctions. The possibility of independent sanctions is not high at this time. Park Soo-hyun, senior presidential secretary for public communication, reaffirmed on Friday that the country is not considering imposing independent sanctions, saying, “We are not in an era, where we can do things on our own. He implied that South Korea will not be at the forefront of sanctions, considering its relations with Russia.

In a phone interview with The Dong-A Ilbo, Rep. Cho Tae-yong of the People’s Power Party, who served as the first vice minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said he does not understand why the government is hesitant to join the sanctions when Russia has already been criticized for violating the international law. Rep. Cho warned that the loss coming from being excluded from the allied front will be much greater than the benefits coming from not provoking Russia.

niceshin@donga.com · tree624@donga.com