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Japan, S. Korea expand sanctions on N. Korea after spy satellite launch

TOKYO, Dec 1 (KUNA) -- Japan and South Korea on Friday expanded their sanctions on North Korea following Pyongyang's launch of a spy satellite using ballistic missile technology last week.
Japan's new measures, approved at a Cabinet meeting earlier in the day, added the freezing of assets held in Japan by four groups and five individuals, including North Korean hacker group Kimsuky, for their involvement in Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile development programs, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said in a press release.
"North Korea's series of provocative actions continue with unprecedented frequency and new forms, posing a grave and imminent threat to Japan's security. They also threaten the peace and security of the region and the international community as a whole, and must never be tolerated," Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a news conference.
"Japan strongly urges North Korea to take concrete actions toward resolving various issues, such as the abductions of Japanese nationals (in the 1970s and 1980s), nuclear and missile development programs," the top government spokesman stressed.
Matsuno also said Japan will work closely with relevant countries, including the US, South Korea and Australia, as well as with the international community to call for the complete dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The decision came after the North put its first spy satellite into orbit on Nov. 21, claiming it has taken detailed photos of the White House, the Pentagon and nuclear aircraft carriers at a US naval base.
Pyongyang is banned from any launches using ballistic missile technology under a series of UN Security Council resolutions.
Meanwhile, South Korea also imposed unilateral sanctions on 11 North Korean individuals involved in satellite and ballistic missile development, Seoul's Foreign Ministry said, according to Yonhap News Agency.
"It is significant that the governments of South Korea, the US, Japan and Australia imposed sanctions in succession on the same date for the first time," the ministry said in a release. (end) mk.mt