Reuters SEOUL (Reuters) — South Korea imposed unilateral sanctions on 18 North Koreans on Monday, barring any financial transactions between those sanctioned and any South Koreans, as part of international efforts to dry up Pyongyang’s illegal cash flows.
All 18 individuals on which the South Korean sanctions were imposed were directly affiliated to North Korean banks, according to an official government announcement by the finance minister uploaded on the Interior Ministry’s website.
“They are all people at North Korean financial institutions that have already been sanctioned by the United Nations,” a government official directly involved in the sanction development process told Reuters. The official asked for anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to media.
“They’re high-ranking employees who have been linked to North Korea’s nuclear and missile development program as well as the North’s foreign exchange procurement efforts.”
“We aim to encourage people to avoid problematic transactions with North Korea [through these sanctions] and to exercise caution with North Korea-related transactions in general,” said Unification Ministry spokesman Baek Tae Hyun in a regular media briefing.
“We expect this will contribute to blocking North Korea’s main sources of foreign exchange and its developing of weapons of mass destruction.”
The announcement came a day ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to South Korea as part of his 12-day Asia tour.