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Trade, cash and training North Korea faces long list of Swiss sanctions

The new sanctions include various measures to slow North Korea's military development

(AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Switzerland is stepping up the political pressure on North Korea. It announced on Thursday that a wide-range of sanctions will be increased in line with international law.

The Swiss cabinet said the “considerably tighter sanctions” were a response to nuclear and missile tests that had been carried out by North Korea at the beginning of January and February. A UN Security Council resolution from March 2 means that restrictions on trade with North Korea, financial transactions, maritime and air transport and aspects of education will all be subject to increased sanctions.

As part of international law, Switzerland also has obligations to implement the penalties.

Measures in the financial sector include freezing assets and a ban on providing financial services. The group of people affected will now be widened. Any funds that are connected to North Korea’s nuclear or missile programmes have been affected, as have the finances of the country’s government or the Korean Workers’ Party.

The cabinet said that an exception has been made for the funds of diplomatic representations. 

The sanctions mean that Swiss banks cannot open any branch or subsidiaries in North Korea, and existing banks and even accounts will have to be shut down by June 2. The same is also true in reverse – North Korean banks operating in Switzerland will have to leave.

Trade and training

An existing ban on exporting luxury goods will now include more products, and goods that would “increase the operational capabilities” of North Korea’s army are banned.

Any imports or exports will be checked at a customs point for the prohibited products, and exports to North Korea will require advanced authorisation from the State Secretariat of Economic Affairs (Seco).

In terms of aviation, certain types of fuel cannot be sold to North Korea any more, and various restrictions on charter and leasing contracts have been introduced. When it comes to education, citizens of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) are barred from studying subjects such as higher physics, advanced computer simulation or nuclear engineering in Switzerland, and military-style training courses for government officials or instructors will no longer be allowed.

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