S. Korea imposes sanctions on 8 NK individuals for illicit arms trade, cyberactivities

Bomi Yoon

North Korea fires a Hwasong-18 solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Dec. 18. Courtesy of the North's official Korean Central News Agency

North Korea fires a Hwasong-18 solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Dec. 18. Courtesy of the North’s official Korean Central News Agency

South Korea imposed independent sanctions Wednesday on eight North Korean individuals, including the chief of the North’s spy agency, for their involvement in arms trade and cyberactivities banned under international sanctions.

The latest imposition of sanctions came in response to the North’s test-firing of a Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missile on Dec. 18 in violation of U.N. Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, the foreign ministry said.

Ri Chang-ho, the head of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, was added to the list for leading the intelligence agency known to be behind North Korea’s major cyberattacks, led by such hacking groups as Kimsuky, Lazarus and Andariel.

These hacking groups have engaged in illegal cyberactivities to earn hard currency and steal technologies, the ministry said.

Park Young-han, the chief of Beijing New Technology, is accused of handling arms trades on behalf of the North’s Korea Mining Development Trading, responsible for exports of conventional weapons and the supply of equipment for ballistic missiles.

Yun Chol, a former third secretary at the North Korean Embassy in China, was involved in the trading of lithium-6, a key material for nuclear weapons banned from dealing by the UNSC.

The remaining five are Ryang Su-nyo, Kim Sung-su, Pae Won-chol, Ri Sin-song and Kim Pyong-chol of Pan Systems Pyongyang, an arms dealer under the control of the Reconnaissance General Bureau.

All of the entities to which the eight people belong have already been sanctioned by the UNSC and the South Korean government, the ministry added.

“We have made it clear that North Korea’s provocations will come with a price,” the ministry said. “We will continue to work closely with the international community, including the United States and Japan, to help North Korea realize this, stop provocations and reengage in the denuclearization talks.”

Under the sanctions, anyone seeking to have financial deals with those on the sanctions list is required to get approval from the chief of the Bank of Korea or the country’s financial authorities.

Wednesday’s announcement of the sanctions designation is the 14th of its kind under the government of President Yoon Suk Yeol. It raises the total numbers of sanctioned North Korean individuals and institutions to 83 and 53, respectively. (Yonhap)

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