South Korea, China crack down on North Korean vessels. impose further bans

North Korea has been hit with a new wave of sanctions affecting its maritime industry as its neighbor South Korea announced a total ban on vessels that stopped at the North Korean ports over past 180 days amid Seoul’s measures aimed at strengthening maritime-related controls at the country’s ports.

The new sanctions would also see blacklisting of 40 individuals, including heads of shipping firms from Taiwan and Singapore, and 30 entities suspected of being involved in North Korea’s weapons program, the Seoul government said Tuesday in a statement.

The firms that have been targeted by the harsher sanctions include Thai shipping firm Mariner’s Shipping & Trading and Taiwan company Royal Team Corporation, which will now be barred from trading and see their assets get frozen.

The move is being drawn as China steps up efforts against North Korea prohibiting North Korean ships from entering China’s ports. In particular, at least three ships have been reported to be barred from China’s ports, all of them included in the latest blacklist of 31 ships covered by severer sanctions against North Korea.

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted the harsher sanctions against the country on March 2, stating that all cargo going to and from the DPRK by sea or air will be inspected and any vessel suspected of carrying forbidden items will be denied entry into port.

The strengthened measures come in response to the country’s ongoing nuclear and ballistic missile-related activities that “threaten international peace and security,” the UN Security Council said.

Following the imposition of harsher sanctions, one of North Korea’s vessels named MV Jin Teng has been impounded in the Philippines. The ship was detained in Olongapo port due to safety issues earlier this week.

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