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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

S. Korea Moves to Enforce Sanctions

SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea announced Thursday it would ban the entry of North Koreans who are part of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program, the first step taken by Seoul to adhere to United Nations sanctions.

The decision came after North Korea said any action by Seoul under the UN resolution would "drive the inter-Korean relations to a catastrophe" and would be "a grave provocative act," which could lead to war.

U.S. President George W. Bush said Pyongyang's threats were aimed only at dividing the five nations that have been in talks with North Korea on ending its nuclear program.

"The leader of North Korea likes to threaten," Bush told a news conference Wednesday. "What he's doing is just testing the will of the five countries that are working together to convince him there is a better way forward for his people."

He also reiterated the United States would keep up diplomatic efforts to end the crisis.

South Korea's Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok said Seoul would take action against the North beyond the UN Security Council resolution that mandated trade and financial sanctions.

"The government will ban the passage and stay [in the South] of persons and their family designated by [the UN Security Council] sanctions committee," Lee told a parliamentary committee.

The UN Security Council voted on October 14 to impose financial and arms sanctions on North Korea after it staged its first nuclear test earlier this month, but how those measures will be implemented remains a matter of debate.