South Korea announces symbolic, new sanctions on N. Korea

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) " South Korea on Friday announced a set of largely symbolic, additional sanctions on North Korea for the nuclear and missile tests it conducted this year.

The announcement came two days after the U.N. Security Council voted to tighten sanctions on North Korea by placing a cap on coal exports, one of the country's main sources for foreign currency. In response, Pyongyang has warned of unspecified self-defense measures.

The South Korean government said it blacklisted dozens of new high-profile North Korean officials and entities by banning South Koreans from engaging in financial dealing with them. Among the North Korean officials are Choe Ryong Hae and Hwang Pyong So, two of leader Kim Jong Un's closest associates.

A South Korean statement said it'll sanction a China-based company and four of its executives for allegedly assisting financial activities by a North Korean bank sanctioned by the U.N. The U.S. Justice Department already unsealed criminal charges against Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Co. and the individuals earlier this year.

It's unclear if the South Korean measures will sting North Korea. Inter-Korean trade and exchanges largely remain suspended and Pyongyang is already under multiple rounds of U.N.

sanctions for years. The Chinese company has no assets in South Korea, according to South Korean officials.

In Tokyo, Japan said it was also renewing its sanctions against North Korea. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters about the decision and criticized the missile launches and nuclear tests as "a new threat that must not be allowed."

Japan already has in place sanctions against North Korea. Suga said Japan will renew efforts to bring home all Japanese abducted by North Korea, as well as more strictly blocking visits from North Korean officials and penalizing related groups, including those in China.

U.S., South Korean and Japanese officials have stressed the need to impose harsher sanctions after the North conducted its fifth and most powerful nuclear test in September.

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Associated Press writer Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo contributed to this report.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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