Seoul urges stringent sanctions on Pyongyang

Seoul, March 1 (IANS) South Korean Prime Minister and Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn on Wednesday called for greater international sanctions on North Korea, a media report said.

Hwang Kyo-ahn’s call came after the murder of the North Korean leader’s half-brother with a chemical weapon at the Malaysian airport on February 13, an incident for which Seoul blamed Pyongyang.

“The recent murder of Kim Jong-nam has revealed what the North Korean regime truly is: brutal, reckless and inhumane,” said Hwang Kyo-ahn.

He was speaking on the occasion of the 98th anniversary of the Korean Independence Movement.

“The whole world was immensely shocked by the terrorist act committed at an international airport in a third country with a chemical weapon that is prohibited by international law,” said Hwang Kyo-ahn.

The acting head of the government said Seoul would work with the international community to increase sanctions and pressure on Pyongyang, including the UN Security Council resolutions.

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se had also on Tuesday called upon the international community for “extraordinary measures” against Pyongyang.

Yun Byung-se’s call came during his speech at the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and he pressed for possible suspension of North Korea’s rights as a UN member.

Kim Jong-nam died after two women at the Kuala Lumpur airport approached him and allegedly sprayed his face with VX nerve agent, killing him within minutes on his way to hospital.

Seoul intelligence held Pyongyang responsible for the incident, while Malaysian authorities on Wednesday filed murder charges against two women over the crime.

In addition to the two women — a Vietnamese and an Indonesian — Malaysian police also have a North Korean chemist in custody.

According to Malaysian police, four North Koreans recruited the women to commit the murder and fled to Pyongyang on the day of the crime.