N. Korea arms dealers named in UN sanctions resolution

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - The United Nations (UN) Security Council will add two top North Korean arms dealers to a sanctions list following the country's nuclear test last month, according to a copy of a United States (US)-China draft resolution obtained by AFP on Wednesday.

Yon Chong Nam, a trading company chief, and his deputy Ko Chol Chae are among three individuals, a government academy and an import firm that the resolution would sanction following the North's Feb 12 test.

The UN Security Council is expected to vote on Thursday on the resolution, which warns of "further significant measures" if the North stages a new nuclear test or rocket launch.

Yon is head of the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID), which was added to the UN sanctions list in 2009 after North Korea's last nuclear test.

KOMID is described in the resolution as North Korea's "primary arms dealer and main exporter of goods and equipment related to ballistic missiles and conventional weapons". Ko is the company's deputy chief representative.

"These two are just arms traders. Their titles are a very thin veil," said a western official with knowledge of the talks on the resolution.

The third individual named is Mun Chong Chol, an official for Tanchon Commercial Bank.

The bank was also put on the UN hit list in 2009 and is described as the North's main 'financial entity for sales of conventional arms, ballistic missiles" and related goods.

The individuals would face an international travel ban and assets freeze.

The government's Second Academy of Natural Sciences and the Korea Complex Equipment Import Corporation would also be added to the asset freeze list.

The academy carries out research on North Korea's "advanced weapons systems, including missiles and probably nuclear weapons", says the draft resolution.

It added that the import corporation is a subsidiary of Korea Ryongbong General Corporation, a conglomerate that buys equipment for the North's defense industries and giant military.

Following weeks of negotiations between US and China, the North's main ally, the resolution will put Pyongyang under one of the toughest sanctions regimes ever ordered as a punishment for its nuclear test.

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