UN sanctions N. Korean entities over rocket launch

The UN Security Council on Wednesday ordered sanctions against three "very significant" North Korean entities over the country's failed rocket launch last month, US ambassador Susan Rice said.

With fears mounting that North Korea is about stage a nuclear weapons test, the United States, European Union, South Korea and Japan had proposed a list of 40 companies, organizations and individuals.

China, the North's closest ally, rejected the bulk of the list, diplomats said.

The new names include a North Korean bank, a trading conglomerate and state-run umbrella organization, diplomats said. The names were not immediately released however.

"We view this as a strong and credible set of sanctions," Rice said as the accord between the Security Council powers was announced.

"These new sanctions include the designation of, and the freezing of assets of three very significant North Korean entities, very much involved in their illicit missile and nuclear programs," Rice told reporters.

North Korea fired the rocket on April 13, but it disintegrated soon after launch and fell into the Yellow Sea.

Global condemnation followed however and the Security Council ordered the expansion of sanctions imposed after the isolated state's nuclear bomb tests in 2006 and 2009.

The 15-nation council gave its North Korean sanctions committee two weeks to propose new names and entities to add to the list of eight firms and five individuals already facing an assets freeze and travel ban.

The council, including China, agreed a statement which "strongly condemned" the launch and highlighted "grave security concerns" in Asia.

The council also ordered that an updated Missile Technology Control Regime list of banned exports be applied to further tighten pressure on North Korea.

A list of banned substances and technology prepared by the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the main nuclear equipment exporting countries, will also be applied to North Korea.

by Sardar Ahmad © 2012 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: May 2, 2012