President Lee warns North Korea as sanctions increase

Park Sae-jin Reporter() | Posted : April 26, 2013, 09:44 | Updated : April 26, 2013, 09:44
South Korea‘s outgoing president warns North Korea has pushed itself further into a corner with its recent nuclear test. President Lee Myung-bak said Tuesday in his farewell address that North Korea will only face international sanctions and isolation if it hangs on to its nuclear and missile programs.

South Korea has pressed for tighter UN sanctions on North Korea since Pyongyang conducted its third nuclear test last week. North Korea defends the underground blast as an act of deterrence against US hostility.

Lee leaves office next Monday. The relations between the two Koreas have frayed badly during his single, five-year tenure. His successor, Park Geun-hye, has called for reopening dialogue with Pyongyang but also remains firmly opposed to North Korea’s nuclear program.

Moreover, the European Union imposed trade and economic sanctions on North Korea while condemning “in the strongest terms” the nation’s latest nuclear test.

The 27 EU finance ministers also demanded North Korea abstains from further tests and urged it to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty immediately. The statement came as the ministers met Monday in Brussels.

Their action brings the number of North Koreans subject to a travel ban and an asset freeze to 26, and the number of sanctioned companies to 33. The ministers also banned the export of components for ballistic missiles, such as certain types of aluminum, and prohibited trade in new public bonds from North Korea.

The United States is negotiating in the Security Council for stronger U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang after the council quickly condemned the Feb. 12 atomic blast, the third conducted by the North since 2006.

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