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S. Korea, US sanction N. Korean IT workers

By Choi Si-young

Published : May 23, 2023 - 23:51

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South Korea and the US announced fresh sanctions on North Korean IT workers and groups believed to be bankrolling the isolated country’s nuclear and missile programs in the latest round of bans that last took place a month ago.

In a statement Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry in Seoul singled out seven North Koreans and three entities, saying the individuals were responsible for overseeing North Korean information technology workers earning and laundering money overseas.

“The three groups are part of North Korea’s Defense Ministry and train North Korean IT workers overseas and organize activities meant to use the talent pool in sectors including the crypto industry,” the statement said.

The Yoon administration, which took power in May last year, has placed a similar ban on a total of 43 North Koreans and 44 groups since October. The latest ban is a “comprehensive measure aimed at all illegal activities by North Korea in place to fund its weapons programs,” according to the statement. The regime is accused of using cyberspace to bypass international sanctions over its weapons programs.

Meanwhile, Seoul and Washington held a symposium in San Francisco the same day to step up joint efforts to curb North Korea’s cybercrimes, bringing together government officials as well IT experts and specialists in the private sector. The first round of meetings took place in November.