South Korea has slapped financial sanctions on seven individuals and organizations for allegedly engaging in weapons trade with the North.
Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday that six Taiwanese individuals and entities as well as a Syrian research center were put on the blacklist for arms trade with North Korea.
Under the sanctions, South Korean people and firms should receive approval from the head of the Bank of Korea for doing business with the blacklisted entities or face a prison term of up to three years or a fine of up to 300 million won (US$270,000).
Officials say there is “evidence of illegal ties” between those blacklisted and the North, South Korea’s Yonhap News agency reported.
“It’s evident that they are involved in weapons trade with North Korea. They have already faced US sanctions,” a South Korean Foreign Ministry official said on condition of anonymity, adding that Seoul has shared related information with international organizations.
In the past, similar sanctions had been imposed by the South Korean government on 32 other individuals and organizations in the North that have also been subjected to UN Security Council sanctions.
This, however, is the first time that Seoul takes such a punitive measure against a foreign individual and groups outside the Korean peninsula.
Moreover, Seoul has imposed separate sanctions against the North over the sinking of its warship, the Cheonan, in March 2010.
Since the sinking of the vessel, South Korea has maintained that it was torpedoed by a North Korean submarine. North Korea has denied the allegation.