President Moon Jae – In — on Monday , a day before US President Donald Trump arrives in Seoul on an Asian tour dominated by the North’ s nuclear programme .
A total of 18 North Korean bankers stationed in China , Russia and Libya with suspected links to the regime’ s weapons programmes have been blacklisted , a statement posted on the South ’ s government website showed .
“ Those individuals have worked overseas , representing North Korean banks and getting involved in supplying money needed to develop weapons of mass destruction, ” Seoul’ s foreign ministry said in a statement .
All 18 have already been sanctioned by the US, and the announcement came a day before Trump — who has accused South Korea ’ s dovish President Moon Jae – In of “ appeasement” — was due to arrive in Seoul.
The measures were Seoul’ s first unilateral sanctions under Moon , who took office in May vowing a peaceful resolution to the nuclear standoff and declared a willingness to visit Pyongyang under “the right circumstances ”.
The move bars South Korean individuals and entities from transacting with those on the list . It will be largely symbolic given a lack of inter – Korean economic ties, but is likely to draw an angry response from Pyongyang .
It also follows a new round of sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council in September following the North’ s sixth nuclear test and a flurry of missile launches in recent months .
Last year , South Korea unilaterally closed operations at the jointly – run Kaesong Industrial Complex , saying cash from the zone was being funnelled to the North’ s weapons programme .
The complex was the last remaining form of North- South economic cooperation . Seoul banned nearly all business with the North in 2010 after accusing Pyongyang of sinking one of its warships .