10:18 GMT +322 October 2019
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    A view of the test-fire of Pukguksong-2 guided by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the spot, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang February 13, 2017

    US, S Korean Financial Regulators Discuss Expanding Sanctions Against N Korea

    © REUTERS / KCNA/Handout
    Asia & Pacific
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    South Korea's Minister of Strategy and Finance Yoo Il-ho held a telephone conversation with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to discuss ways to expand sanctions against Pyongyang in the aftermath of the murder of Kim Jong Nam, the reputed half-brother of North Korea's leader, the South Korean finance ministry said Thursday.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) According to the ministry's press release, it was the first conversation of the two ministers following the inauguration of US President Donald Trump and formation of his administration. The sides expressed commitment to expanding the bilateral cooperation in different spheres.

    "The sides have agreed to cooperate over the issue of toughening of financial sanctions against North Korea, as well as to monitor the implementation of the current sanction regime both with regard to the UN Security Council and unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States and South Korea," the ministry said.

    The ministers have also agreed to hold a more detailed dialogue on the sidelines of the G20 finance ministers' meeting, which is expected to take place in Germany on March 17-18.

    North Korea's nuclear program has been a source for concern for its closest neighbor, South Korea, as well as for the international community. On February 12, Pyongyang launched a medium-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan and declared the test successful. This and a number of previous launches were considered to be in violation of the UNSC resolutions by the United Nations.

    On February 13, Kim Jong Nam, the alleged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was killed at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The highly toxic gas was smeared on his face as he was about to board a flight to Macau. Kim is believed to be killed by a VX nerve agent classified by the United Nations as a weapon of mass destruction.

    On Monday, the South Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS) said that four of the eight suspects involved in the murder worked for North Korea’s Ministry of State Security and Foreign Ministry.

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