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S. Korea to impose export controls against Belarus

March 6, 2022 - 18:21 By Ahn Sung-mi
In this photo taken from video provided by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, a self-propelled artillery mount fires at the Osipovichi training ground during the Union Courage-2022 Russia-Belarus military drills in Belarus. (AP-Yonhap)
South Korea on Sunday decided to impose export controls against Belarus for “effectively supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” joining the US and other countries in implementing tough restrictions against Moscow’s strong ally. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it would notify the US and related countries of its decision. 

“The Korean government decided today to implement export controls against Belarus, based on the judgment that Belarus is effectively supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” the ministry said in a statement. “We will convey the decision to the US and related countries as soon as possible, while expanding the support and protection of South Korean companies and Korean nationals that could be affected by (the action).” 

The export restriction, to take effect Monday, will be similar to Seoul’s export control against Russia announced last week. Under the measure, South Korea will ban the export of strategic materials to Belarus and also include two entities, including the Belarusian Defense Ministry, on its export blacklist. 

Strategic materials include items such as conventional weapons, goods and technologies that could make weapons of mass destruction and missiles, among others. These are materials that are listed under multilateral export control regimes, including the Missile Technology Control Regime, Wassenaar Arrangement, Nuclear Suppliers Group and Australia Group.

The government said it will also impose export controls against Belarus on nonstrategic materials, as it did for Russia, without elaborating further. The nonstrategic materials include items such as semiconductors, computers and telecommunication and information security systems, which are subject to US sanctions. 

Seoul last week decided to prohibit the shipping of strategic materials to Russia and put 49 entities, including Russia’s Defense Ministry, on its export blacklist, in accordance with the US’ Entity List for export controls. It also decided to join the US and other allies in removing key Russian banks’ access to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT, in a move that effectively cuts off financial transactions with major Russian banks. 

The US and European countries announced fresh sanctions against Belarus last week, condemning Minsk’s role in facilitating Russia’s ongoing attack on Ukraine.