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South sanctions 11 North Koreans linked to satellite launch

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In this photo, a Cholima-1 space launch vehicle carrying a Malligyong-1 military reconnaissance satellite is launched from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Tongchang-ri, North Pyongan Province, on Nov. 21. [KOREAN CENTRAL TELEVISION/YONHAP]
In this photo, a Cholima-1 space launch vehicle carrying a Malligyong-1 military reconnaissance satellite is launched from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Tongchang-ri, North Pyongan Province, on Nov. 21. [KOREAN CENTRAL TELEVISION/YONHAP]

The South Korean government on Friday added 11 North Korean nationals who participated in the development of the recently launched spy satellite, including intercontinental ballistic missile experts, to its sanctions list.

The South Korean government’s sanction was coordinated with the United States, Japan and Australia, which also announced their sanctions against North Korea regarding the spy satellite.

This is the first time the four countries have coordinated in imposing sanctions against North Korea, U.S. State Secretary Tony Blinken said in a statement.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry on Friday disclosed a list that includes officials of the North Korean National Aerospace Development Administration, including its deputy director Ri Chul-ju and Kang Sun, the manager of the Ryongsong Machine Complex, North Korea’s biggest industrial production plant.

Others include the head of the 727 Research Center Kim Yong-hwan; high-ranking officials of the North’s Muniutions Industry Department Deputy Director Choi Il-hwan and Deputy Director Choi Myong-chul; North Korean military’s Lt. Gen. Kim Chun-kyo; Manager of Tae-sung Machine Factory Choi Byung-wan; and economic officer of the NOrth Korean Embassy in Russia Jin Su-nam, also known as Sin Kyu-nam.

The four others that were on the sanction list who are members of the National Aerospace Development Administration are Kim In-bum, Ko Kwon-yong and Choi Myong-su.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry said that except for Jin, the 10 individuals on the list are the first to be sanctioned in the world.

South Korea wasn’t the only country to impose sanctions against North Korean nationals who played a key role in developing the reconnaissance satellite.

The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday designated eight North Korean individuals located in Russia, China and Iran and one entity that facilitated revenue generation and missile-related technology procurement for North Korea’s weapons program.

The entity sanctioned is Kimsuky, the North Korean hacking group that the South Korean government was the first to impose sanctions on June 2.

Japan also imposed a sanction against the North Korean cyber group.

Under the sanction, all U.S. assets of the North Korean individuals and Kimsuky have been frozen. The measure also bans all U.S. nationals or entities from dealing with the hacking group.

“Today’s actions by the United States, Australia, Japan, and the Republic of Korea reflect our collective commitment to contesting Pyongyang’s illicit and destabilizing activities,” Brian Nelson, the U.S. Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said.
“We will remain focused on targeting these key nodes in the DPRK’s illicit revenue generation and weapons proliferation.”

DPRK, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, is North Korea’s official name.

So Myong, chief representative of the North Korean Foreign Trade Bank branch in Vladivostok that the U.S. government had sanctioned, was sanctioned by the South Korean government on June 28.

The latest sanction by the South was the 13th imposed against North Korean individuals and institutions by the Yoon Suk Yeol government.

Since October last year, the South Korean government has imposed sanctions on 75 North Korean individuals and 53 institutions.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry noted that under the independent sanction, approval by the Bank of Korea governor or the Financial Services Commission is required when making financial transactions with individuals and institutions on the sanction list.

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