South Korea and the U.S. ‘simultaneous sanctions’ on North Korea’s nuclear and missile development funds… Chosun Kwangseon Bank Shim Hyeon-seop

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North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) ‘Hwasong-18’. (Pyongyang Rodong Sinmun = News 1)

On the 24th, the South Korean and US governments simultaneously designated Shim Hyun-seop, a North Korean national, as the subject of independent sanctions for alleged involvement in North Korea’s nuclear and missile development financing through illegal cyber activities.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, Sim Hyun-seop belongs to North Korea’s Chosun Kwangseon Bank, which was included in the UN Security Council sanctions list in March 2016. Shim Hyun-seop was found to have engaged in illegal financial activities such as creating accounts under borrowed names and laundering money.

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In particular, Shim Hyun-seop illegally laundered millions of dollars of money, including cryptocurrency, earned by North Korean information technology (IT) personnel while staying abroad illegally, and financially supported the personnel, generating profits through illegal cyber activities and weapons of mass destruction. (WMD) is known to have been involved in financing the development.

Regarding this independent sanction, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “It is in accordance with the ‘Foreign Exchange Transactions Act’ and the ‘Act on Prohibition of Financing for the Purpose of Intimidating the Public and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction’ under domestic law.” It was evaluated as a measure implemented based on cooperation between Korea and the United States to block it.”

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This is the first time South Korea and the U.S. have simultaneously sanctioned the same target in the cyber field. In December of last year, South Korea, the U.S., and Japan announced their own sanctions against North Korea on the same day in order to jointly respond to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, but at that time, the targets of sanctions were different and cyber sanctions were not included.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained that it had held three working group discussions with the US on North Korea’s cyber threat response, and based on related discussions, it had “frozen and confiscated the cryptocurrency stolen by North Korea to reduce the related damage.”

North American denuclearization negotiations

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also added, “We also cooperated closely with the private sector to block a significant portion of borrowed-name accounts for North Korean IT personnel and to recover some of the illegal proceeds to discourage activities.”

In order to increase the effectiveness of cyber sanctions against North Korea, cooperation with various countries is essential.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs plans to further strengthen cooperation with its allies such as the United States and the private sector in order to block North Korea’s illegal earning of foreign currency, including illegal cyber activities.

Source: Donga

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