Sanctions from Japan and South Korea for inter-Korean-Russian arms trade

Japan and South Korea announced separate sanctions packages targeting companies, ships or individuals allegedly supplying North Korean weapons to Russia for use in Ukraine in violation of UN resolutions.

South Korea has accused Pyongyang of sending thousands of containers of munitions to Russia, while experts have suggested that Pyongyang’s recent tests could be weapons intended for use on the battlefields in Ukraine.

In August, the US Treasury Department imposed similar sanctions, saying Russia was running out of ammunition and losing heavy equipment in Ukraine, forcing Moscow to turn to its few allies, including Pyongyang, for support.

Japan’s top government spokesman Yoshimasa Hayashi said they strongly condemned the agreements: “We have co-operated with allies such as the United States to freeze the assets of 11 groups and one individual involved in Russian-North Korean military aid in support of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. This violates UN security resolutions that categorically prohibit the transfer of arms and related materials with North Korea.”

The Japanese newspaper Asahi suggests that nine of the groups and one individual are based in Russia, while two other organisations based in Cyprus are helping to transport weapons from North Korea.

South Korea also imposed its own sanctions on two Russian ships and seven North Koreans. A statement from Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said the ships were “transporting a large amount of containers carrying military equipment between Russia and North Korea”.

North Korea sanctions bring US and China together