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S. Korea sanctions N. Koreans, Russian ships for illicit arms, oil trades

May 24, 2024 - 19:25 By Ji Da-gyum
State flags of Russia and North Korea fly in a street near a monument to Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin during the visit of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un to Vladivostok, Russia, on April 25, 2019. (File Photo - Reuters)

The South Korean government announced Friday sanctions against two North Korean individuals and two Russian ships involved in illicit arms and oil trades with Russia, contravening UN Security Council resolutions, according to the Foreign Ministry in Seoul.

Rim Yong-hyok was blacklisted for his involvement in weapons trading between Russia and North Korea while serving as the representative of the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation in Syria, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The KOMID, a North Korean state-owned weapons company, has been subject to UN Security Council sanctions since 2009 for its dealings in ballistic missiles and conventional weapons.

Rim negotiated with Russians affiliated with the Wagner Group to facilitate weapons transfers between Russia and North Korea from 2022 to October 2023, according to a March report by the UN Panel of Experts.

Han Hyok-chol, the representative of Taeryong Trading Corp. in Vladivostok, Russia, was also sanctioned for his involvement in importing Russian diesel oil into North Korea on behalf of Sungnisan Trading Corp, which was subjected to South Korea's unilateral sanctions against North Korea in October 2022.

The South Korean government also imposed sanctions on two Russian vessels MAIA-1 and MARIA for "carrying a large number of containers and transporting military supplies shuttling between Russia and North Korea."

"Military cooperation between Russia and North Korea such as arms trade blatantly violates UN Security Council resolutions and poses a serious threat to peace and stability around the world to include Europe, extending beyond the Korean Peninsula," the Foreign Ministry said.

"South Korea, along with the international community, continues to urge Russia and North Korea to immediately cease illegal military cooperation."

The South Korean government additionally slapped sanctions on five North Koreans for illicitly earning hard currency through IT activities while belonging to Myongan Corporation, an organization subordinate to North Korea’s Munitions Industry Department.

According to the Foreign Ministry, these individuals —Kim Jong-gil, Jang Ho-yong, Ri Kyong-sik, Ri Yong-min, and Pak Kwang-hyok —facilitated funding for nuclear and missile development while illegally residing in Vladivostok, Russia.