Seoul welcomes new US sanctions on Pyongyang

Seoul, Feb 19 (IANS) South Korea on Friday welcomed stringent new US sanctions against North Korea, anticipating it will help curb Pyongyang’s provocative behaviuor.

US President Barack Obama on Thursday signed into law a North Korea sanctions bill that Congress overwhelmingly passed last week in response to Pyongyang’s nuclear and long-range rocket tests, The Korea Herald reported.

The sanctions bill calls for imposing mandatory sanctions on those assisting Pyongyang due to its nuclear and missile programmes, cyber-attacks, human rights abuses and imports of luxury goods.

It is also aimed at choking off sources of cash for the regime by sanctioning trade in coal, minerals and precious metals, as well as blacklisting those helping with Pyongyang’s money laundering, counterfeiting, cash smuggling and narcotics trafficking.

“The bill was the first one exclusively targeting North Korea, which was passed in an unusually expeditious fashion. We expect it to provide a platform for the US to take strong and effective measures (against North Korea),” the ministry said.

“We believe that the act demonstrates the US’ strong will to respond sternly to North Korea’s provocations of nuclear and missile tests.”

The ministry also said that the effectuation of the act will strengthen the concerted efforts by the international community to make Pyongyang “pay the price” for its latest provocations.

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