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Friday, December 1, 2023

South Korea sanctions North Korean company, five individuals in response to spy satellite launch

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The news of North Korea's second spy satellite launch is seen on TV at Seoul Station on Aug. 24. [YONHAP]
The news of North Korea’s second spy satellite launch is seen on TV at Seoul Station on Aug. 24. [YONHAP]

Seoul imposed sanctions against five individuals from North Korea and a North Korean tech company on Friday in response to Pyongyang’s recent attempt to launch a spy satellite, it announced.

The South Korean government said it sees the launch as having the same gravity as intercontinental ballistic missile testing.

This marks the 11th round of sanctions imposed by the Yoon Suk Yeol administration on North Korea and related entities, which include 54 individuals and 51 institutions.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the five individuals and the company have been involved in North Korea’s nuclear and missile development efforts and funding their weapon programs.

The newly sanctioned Ryugyong Program Development Company is a company that develops unmanned weapon systems and deploys its experts abroad.

The government suspects many of these experts have engaged in illicit activities, such as hacking into cryptocurrency exchanges to fund North Korea’s weapon programs.

The five individuals targeted by the sanctions are employees of the company, believed to have engaged in satellite development programs and drone-related projects. They included Kim Hak-chol, a company representative in Shenyang, China, and Jang Won-chol, a company representative in Jinzhou, China.

North Korea attempted to launch its second spy satellite on Aug. 24. It plans to test another in October.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]