Feb. 18 (Bloomberg) -- The European Union strengthened sanctions against North Korea, including the imposition of new financial restrictions, following the Asian country’s test of a nuclear device last week.
“In view of the recent nuclear test and ballistic missile test on Dec. 12, this is the EU’s first step in defense of the international non-proliferation regime,” the EU said after the bloc’s foreign ministers agreed on the measures at a meeting today in Brussels. “This nuclear test represents a serious threat to regional and international peace.”
The EU move follows the adoption in the U.S. House on Feb. 15 of a non-binding resolution condemning North Korea for the nuclear test and calling on the government to impose all available sanctions against the nation. The resolution urges collaboration with allies and seeks a new United Nations Security Council resolution.
The decision today by EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels implements sanctions approved by the UN and also includes “autonomous EU measures.” The EU’s travel ban and asset freeze now applies to 26 people, while the number of organizations targeted by an asset freeze amounts to 33, the 27-nation bloc said.
The EU also banned the export and import of key components for ballistic missiles with North Korea. It also prohibited trade in new public bonds from the country, outlawed trade in gold, precious metals and diamonds with North Korean public bodies and stopped the delivery of new North Korean denominated banknotes and coinage to the nation’s central bank.
Under the EU measures, North Korean banks will no longer be allowed to open new branches in the EU nor establish joint ventures with European financial institutions, the EU said. European banks won’t be permitted to establish offices and subsidiaries in North Korea.
The ministers also “took steps enabling future restrictions against persons and entities involved in trade with the DPRK in conventional arms or nuclear and ballistic components,” the EU said. The ministers will “consider further restrictive measures in consultation with key partners,” it said.
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