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The South Koreans have begun to block entry to North Korean officials whose travel has been restricted by the UN sanctions, the first concrete steps of implementation seen by Seoul since the UNSC passed the resolution. They also committed to some efforts to implement the economic sanctions in coming days:
South Korea said Thursday it will ban the entry of North Korean officials who fall under a U.N. travel restriction — Seoul's first concrete move to enforce sanctions imposed after the North's nuclear test.
Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok also said Seoul will control transactions and remittances relating to inter-Korean trade and investment with the North Korean officials, Yonhap news agency reported. ...
Seoul's Thursday decision begin enforcing a part of the sanctions came a day after North Korea warned its neighbor against imposing the punishment and a day after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gently prodded South Korea to show a strong commitment to the sanctions.
Seoul has always shown less enthusiasm for confrontation, preferring a much lighter touch with Kim Jong-Il. Their close proximity to the DPRK military and their missiles and rockets put the South Koreans in a very uncomfortable position. They want to see normalization and stability on the peninsula, not another war, and they see Kim as a man who will go to war without hesitation if his power is threatened too much.
They have chosen appeasement instead of confrontation, and it has not gotten them far. In fact, during the last twenty years of economic engagement and massive aid programs, Kim has become more dangerous than ever. People still starve in North Korea and the lights are still off at night despite the aid and economic development South Korea has brought to the North. Kim has made clear that he wants normalization on the peninsula, too -- he just wants to normalize it by taking over the entire peninsula.
This is a first step for Seoul in recognizing that appeasement hasn't worked, and that economic assistance has allowed Kim to prop up his personality cult in Pyongyang. The situation will not improve until Kim sees that his actions will result in his complete isolation, and Seoul has to be part of that effort.Sphere It View blog reactions
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