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China, South’Korea step up sanctions on N’Korea


Kim Jong Un

Kim Jong Un

China has barred a North Korean freighter from one of its ports and South Korea announced a crackdown on individuals and companies linked to Pyongyang’s weapons programme, stepping up sanctions against the isolated state.

North Korean general cargo ship Grand Karo arrived at Rizhao port in northeastern China a few days ago, but the port did not allow the ship to berth, said a person at the Rizhao Maritime Authority, declining to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

The ship is among 31 vessels blacklisted by China’s Ministry of Transport after they were covered by harsher sanctions on North Korea that were approved by the United Nations Security Council last week.

At least two other ships on the list of barred freighters are now sailing away after being anchored off Chinese ports, ship tracking data on the Reuters Eikon terminal showed yesterday.

Another of the vessels has been banned from leaving port in the Philippines until safety deficiencies, found during a security and safety inspection of the vessel, are rectified.

The 6,593 deadweight tonne (dwt) Grand Karo is now anchored about 35 km (22 miles) from Rizhao, ship tracking data showed.

“The vessel operator will have to decide what they can do,” the Rizhao maritime official said.

“If non-sanctioned North Korean ships enter the port, officials will ask senior authorities for instructions on how to deal with them,” the official added.

In Seoul, the government said it would impose new sanctions against 40 individuals and 30 entities because of suspected links to North Korea’s weapons programme and would ban vessels that had stopped at North Korean ports in the past 180 days.

“We will expand financial sanctions related to North Korea, including 38 North Korean individuals and 24 entities responsible for developing weapons of mass destruction, and two individuals and six entities of third countries that have indirectly supported the North,” a statement issued jointly by several ministries said.

The individuals subject to financial sanctions announced yesterday include a Singaporean and a Taiwan national who are heads of a shipping firm and a trading company, the government said.

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