Latest Swiss sanctions against North Korea come into effect

The sanctions will add to pressure on North Korean leaders and citizens. Keystone

This content was published on October 18, 2017 - 18:35 and agencies

The Swiss government implemented Wednesday a series of sanctions on North Korea, following two recent United Nations (UN) rulings. Work permits for North Korean citizens and business ventures with links to the Asian state have been banned.

The measures, which come into effect as of Wednesday 18 October, were introduced in accordance with two UN resolutions drafted in August and September.

These US-led resolutions were drafted in response to a handful of rocket and nuclear tests carried out by Pyongyang in recent months, contravening international agreements.

According to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the sanctions notably mean that work authorisations will no longer be issued to North Korean citizens, with the exception of permits issued under contracts concluded before September 11, 2017.

Joint financial ventures and cooperative entities with North Korean individuals or companies are also no longer permitted; existing ventures must be wound down by January 9 next.

Bans on imports and exports have also been extended: condensates, natural gas liquids, and refined petroleum may no longer be exported to North Korea, which will be limited to importing a maximum of 2 million barrels of oil per year.

Diplomatic activity

Combined with another recent set of sanctions targeting North Korean individuals, banking services, and technical cooperation, the current measures will add to significant international pressure on Pyongyang.

Recent months have seen flurries of diplomatic activity in the UN and elsewhere in response to repeat ballistics tests undertaken by the regime of Kim Jong-Un. In September, US president Donald Trump called the Korean leader a “little rocket man”.

For its part, the Asian state views joint military exercises carried out by the US and its ally South Korea as provocation, and a preparation for invasion.

Switzerland, a traditionally neutral state with a history of good offices, has offered to mediate in the conflict by acting as middleman in any talks.

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