Switzerland tightens sanctions against North Korea

North Koreans watch the news broadcast on November 29 announcing Kim Jong Un's order to test a new inter-continental ballistic missile Keystone

Bern has expanded its sanctions on North Korea, bringing itself in line with the United Nations Security Council, which recently updated its list of sanctioned individuals, companies and organisations. 

This content was published on December 28, 2017 - 09:43 and agencies, and agencies/ts

New additions to the list are 16 people from North Korea and the defence ministry in the capital Pyongyang, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said. The assets of these people, mainly from the banking sector, will be frozen. 

On December 22, the UN Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea for its recent intercontinental ballistic missile test, seeking to limit its access to refined petroleum products and crude oil and its earnings from workers abroad. 

The UN resolutionExternal link seeks to ban nearly 90% of refined petroleum exports to North Korea by capping them at 500,000 barrels a year and, in a last-minute change, demands the repatriation of North Koreans working abroad within 24 months, instead of 12 months as first proposed. 

Tension has been rising over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes, which it pursues in defiance of years of UN Security Council resolutions, with bellicose rhetoric coming from both Pyongyang and the White House. 

In November, North Korea demanded a halt to what it called “brutal sanctions”, saying a round imposed after its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3 constituted genocide. 

In March 2016, the Federal Council agreed to the automatic adoption of sanctions lists from the UN Security Council. Changes to these lists are therefore immediately legally valid in Switzerland.

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