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South Korea seizes North Korean paintings due to sanctions

AP  |  Seoul 

South Korean officials said Wednesday they have stopped from bringing North Korean paintings into the country that a report said were purchased at an art studio under UN sanctions.

Observers say similar incidents could occur frequently as South Korea's liberal government pushes for deeper exchanges with

The said it has nine North Korean paintings that an unidentified number of tried to bring into the country after a trip to Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, last November. It said the did not have the required permission to bring in North Korean products.

South Korea's largest newspaper, Chosun Ilbo, reported Wednesday that the paintings were purchased from Pyongyang's Mansudae art studio, which is on a U.N. sanctions blacklist.

The studio is subject to an asset freeze and because of its dispatch of artists and other workers abroad to do projects to generate revenue for the In its studio, thousands of artists produce propaganda-themed paintings, huge bronze statues, mosaics and watercolors.

South Korea's Unification Ministry, which deals with North Korean policy, said it couldn't immediately confirm report. said government agencies will determine whether there were violations of UN sanctions imposed over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

An earlier investigation of the paintings showed that none contains pro-propaganda, a said on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorised to speak publicly on the matter. According to report, the paintings were of animals and each cost 300,000-500,000 won ($270-450).

The businessmen were among about 80 foreign-based businesspeople, mostly South Korean citizens, who made a four-day trip to in mid-November. The refused to identify them.

Personnel exchanges between the two Koreas have increased sharply since abruptly began talks early last year with a vague promise of denuclearisation. South Korean Moon Jae-in wants to expand ties with North Korea, but any resumption of stalled large-scale joint Korean economic projects needs to receive an exemption from the UN sanctions.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, January 16 2019. 15:45 IST