South Korea imposes new sanctions on the North

Tensions rise on the Korean peninsula as the South adds organizations and individuals to sanctions list

Korean DMZ file photo (By Associated Press)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea added several North Korean groups and individuals to its sanctions list Monday in a largely symbolic move that is part of efforts to cut off funding for the North's weapons programs.

The government said those added were 20 North Korean groups, including several banks and companies, and 12 individuals.

Seoul is among the first to respond to North Korea's Nov. 29 missile launch with fresh sanctions. While the move is largely symbolic because all transactions between two Koreas have been banned for years, the government said it hopes its move will prompt the international community to do likewise.

The measure will "remind the international community of the risks of doing transactions with the groups and individuals," Baek Tae-hyun, South Korea's Unification Ministry spokesman, said during a media briefing.

The blacklist includes Rason International Commercial Bank and Korea Zinc Industrial Group. Individuals are North Korean officials who work for the country's banks or companies based in China, Russia, Vietnam and Namibia.

U.S. President Donald Trump's U.N. ambassador has been urging the world to cut trade and diplomatic ties with Pyongyang.

Last month, North Korea has test-fired its most powerful missile ever, an ICBM that may be able to target the eastern seaboard of the United States.

Separately on Monday, South Korea, the United States and Japan started two-day missile tracking drills in response to North Korea's missile and nuclear threats.