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A South Korean soldier walks at a military checkpoint leading to North Korea's Kaesong joint industrial complex, in the border city of Paju early on July 10, 2013. — AFP picA South Korean soldier walks at a military checkpoint leading to North Korea's Kaesong joint industrial complex, in the border city of Paju early on July 10, 2013. — AFP picSEOUL, Nov 6 — South Korea this morning announced a fresh set of unilateral sanctions against Pyongyang, 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,” an official at Seoul’s foreign ministry said, according to Yonhap news agency.

All 18 have already been sanctioned by the US, and the announcement came a day before Trump — who has accused South Korean President Moon Jae-in of “appeasement”  — was due to arrive in Seoul.

The latest 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 the cash from the factory zone was being funnelled to the North’s weapons programme.

The Kaesong Industrial Complex was the last remaining form of North-South economic cooperation, as Seoul banned nearly all business with the North in 2010 after blaming Pyongyang for the sinking of one of its naval corvettes. —  AFP

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