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S. Korea, U.S., Japan, Australia impose sanctions on N. Korea over spy satellite launch

S. Korea, U.S., Japan, Australia impose sanctions on N. Korea over spy satellite launch

Posted December. 02, 2023 08:05,   

Updated December. 02, 2023 08:05


South Korea, the United States, Japan, and Australia have jointly imposed sanctions against North Korea in connection with the launch of a military reconnaissance satellite, violating UN Security Council resolutions. This marks the first instance where four countries concurrently implemented sanctions against North Korea through prior cooperation. The collaborative effort took place in the Asia-Pacific region when attempts to introduce new Security Council sanctions faced opposition from China and Russia.

On Thursday (local time), the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) declared, "We have added eight North Koreans and one organization to the sanctions list due to their involvement in revenue-generating activities supporting North Korea's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program." The announcement specified that sanctions would be enforced on Kimsuky, a hacking organization under the General Bureau, along with eight North Koreans residing in Russia, China, and Iran. Among them are Kang Gyong Il, a representative in Tehran, Ri Song Il, and Kang Pyong Guk, a representative in Beijing, China, affiliated with the Chongsong Association in North Korea, a group known for supplying weapons to Iran.

On Friday, the South Korean government declared its intention to impose sanctions on five individuals, including North Korea's Deputy Director Ri Chol Ju of the General Administration of Aerospace Technology, and six others associated with ballistic missile research and development. In June, the government had already placed Kimsuky on the sanctions list. Concurrently, the Japanese government independently enforced sanctions on this day, targeting four organizations and five individuals, including Kimsuky.

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken issued a statement, asserting that "North Korea's illegal launch on Nov. 21st, believed to be a military reconnaissance satellite, jeopardized global security by utilizing ballistic missile technology, thereby violating multiple Security Council resolutions." He further emphasized, "Notably, South Korea, Japan, and Australia individually designated and announced sanctions against North Korea for the first time." Earlier, on Monday, the UN Security Council convened an emergency meeting. However, due to opposition from permanent members China and Russia, not only were new sanctions against North Korea thwarted, but also the adoption of a chairman's statement was prevented.

Hyoun-Soo Kim kimhs@donga.com