Entities with ties to North blacklisted

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Entities with ties to North blacklisted

The South Korean government on Friday imposed financial sanctions on seven foreign businessman and entities for engaging in the arms trade with North Korea, targeting three Taiwanese individuals, three Taiwanese companies and a state-run Syrian missile development institute.

This is the first time Seoul has imposed financial restrictions separate from United Nations Security Council sanctions on third-country individuals and groups not from North Korea.

The three blacklisted Taiwanese individuals are Tsai Hsein Tai, Su Lu-Chi and Chang Wen-Fu, according to an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Seoul.

The three Taiwanese entities are Trans Merits Company, Trans Multi Mechanics Company and Global Interface Company. The Scientific Studies and Research Center, a state-run Syrian institute linked to the training of engineers in chemical and biological weaponry that has been a target of American sanctions for more than a decade, was also placed on the list.

Hsien Tai Tsai was arrested by U.S. authorities in 2013 and has admitted that he engaged in illegal business transactions involving the export of U.S.-origin goods and machinery to North Korea. He was sentenced to two years in prison by a U.S. court in March for conspiring to defraud the United States and challenging its efforts to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

He and his companies, including Global Interface Company, were targeted by the U.S. Treasury since 2009.

The United States, Japan and Australia are among countries that impose financial sanctions on individuals and entities that deal in arms trade with North Korea and assist in its nuclear program development in addition to the UN Security Council sanctions.

“We selected the sanctions targets this time through combining our intelligence sources with U.S.-designated sanction targets,” a foreign affairs official said.

These individuals have already been targets for sanctions by the United States. South Korea has imposed financial sanctions on 32 North Korean individuals in cooperation with the UN Security Council.

Koreans here who engage in any trade or financial transactions with sanctioned individuals or entities without prior approval from authorities can face a prison term of up to three years or a maximum fine of 300 million won ($269,000).

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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