S.Korea to ban exports of strategic materials to Russia

Seoul, Feb 28 (IANS) South Korea on Monday announced its decision to ban exports of strategic materials to Russia and join the multinational move to exclude the country from the SWIFT global payment network, in a move to back a campaign to hold Moscow accountable for its invasion of Ukraine.
The Foreign Ministry made the announcement as Washington is rallying allies and partners to impose “devastating costs” on Russia, including its isolation from global financial and trade systems, Yonhap news agency reported.
Seoul has notified Washington of its decision on the sanctions through a diplomatic channel, the ministry said, following various considerations, including relations with Moscow, still a partner for peace on the Korean Peninsula, trade and other exchanges.
South Korea plans to strengthen export screening procedures concerning Russia.
It is expected to bar the exports to Russia of strategic materials singled out by four multilateral export control regimes — the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG); the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA); the Australia Group (AG); and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
The regimes are aimed at fending off the spread of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery vehicles and related technologies and equipment.
Earlier, Washington announced restrictions on exports of US origin technology and products to 49 Russian military entities, including its Defence Ministry, under a “policy of denial”.
Washington is known to have requested Seoul take such strong export control measures against Moscow.
South Korea also plans to finalise a decision on possible steps it can take in connection with US standalone export curbs against Russia on dozens of items, such as semiconductors, computers, telecommunications, information security equipment, lasers, and sensors.
On the financial front, Seoul plans to join the move to remove Russia from the SWIFT payment system that links 11,000 banks and institutions in more than 200 countries and allows the smooth cross-border transfer of money.
The US, the UK, Canada and other countries have already moved to exclude key Russian banks from the system.
South Korea plans to decide on specific steps to join the financial sanctions after interagency consultations, the ministry said.
Aside from partaking in the sanctions programme, Seoul plans to bolster humanitarian support for Ukraine. That includes the provision of military suits and other in-kind contributions and the expansion of official development assistance allotted for Ukraine.

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