South Korea’s Foreign Minister, Park Jin, has warned North Korea that it is likely to face cyber and tech sanctions if it goes ahead with a nuclear test it has been planning.
Park Jin stated that North Korea has "completed arrangements for what would be its first nuclear test since 2017", warning that the hermit state will face tougher sanctions that will include measures aimed at clamping down on its cyber attack capabilities if it conducts a nuclear test that it has been preparing.
North Korea is already under various UN sanctions because of its nuclear and missile programs. Park, who took office in May as new President Yoon Suk-yeol's top diplomat, noted that the UN Security Council would likely adopt a "far stronger, more closely woven" resolution if it goes ahead with the test, including measures targeting its hackers.
According to Reuters, Park is pushing for "strengthened sanctions for North Korean IT workers stationed abroad making funds through illegal cyber hacking activity", like stealing funds online and draining cryptocurrency accounts.
The United States and South Korea believe North Korea has mobilised thousands of hackers to finance its weapons.
North Korea's Foreign Ministry has denied that accusation and says its weapons program are for its defence.
Anne Neuberger, US deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology, and several US officials were in South Korea this week to discuss a strategy on reopening "stalled" denuclearisation talks.
Since 2006, North Korea has conducted six nuclear tests. It has also tested ballistic missiles capable of reaching the US.