US, allies target N. Korea finances after rocket test
PAJU: The United States and its Asian allies tightened the economic screws on North Korea Thursday with the US Senate adopting fresh sanctions and South Korean firms abandoning a joint industrial park that helped fund Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.
The unilateral moves, which also included Japanese sanctions, came with UN Security Council members still stalled on how far to go in punishing the North for its latest nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.
Following Seoul’s surprise decision to shut down the Kaesong industrial zone in North Korea, hundreds of South Korean trucks crossed the border Thursday morning to retrieve finished goods and equipment from the factories there.
Defending what it called an “unavoidable” decision to close the jointly-run park, Seoul said North Korea had been using the hundreds of millions of dollars in hard-currency that it earned from Kaesong to fund its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.
The move was slammed as “utterly incomprehensible” by owners of the 124 South Korean companies operating factories in the estate, who said their businesses were being destroyed by politics.