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South Korea Hits North Korean Illegal Weapons Trade with New Sanctions

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South Korea Thursday imposed new sanctions on 10 individuals and two entities for involvement in illegal financial transactions related to North Korea’s nuclear program and arms trade with three countries, including Russia.

South Korea’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement the action was taken to “sternly respond to North Korea’s illegal activities that pose a serious threat to the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the international community.”

North Korea’s top military officials, including Defense Minister Kang Sun Nam, are among those facing new sanctions.

Kang was seen accompanying North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who traveled last week to Russia’s Far East for a summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, raising new concerns about the military cooperation between the two countries.

Their direct talks have alarmed U.S. and South Korean officials over the prospect that North Korea could provide Russia with ammunition for Ukraine in exchange for Russian economic aid and advanced technology for North Korea’s satellites and nuclear-powered submarines.

If North Korea gains the information and technology needed to enhance its weapons of mass destruction capabilities in exchange for supporting Moscow with conventional weapons, “the deal will be a direct provocation threatening the peace and security of not only Ukraine but also the Republic of Korea,” South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday.

Thursday’s announcement was the 12th time South Korea, under Yoon’s administration, has imposed unilateral sanctions against North Korea, bringing the number of sanctioned individuals to 64 and entities to 53.

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