The European Union yesterday (19 May) increased sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile tests, breaching the United Nations resolutions. Brussels added 18 individuals and one “entity” to the list of asset freezes as well as the travel blacklist. The new set of sanctions thus complemented the measures adopted by the UN. “The persons subjected to restrictive measures by this Council decision are mostly high-ranked military officials involved in key bodies responsible for supporting or promoting the DPRK’s nuclear-related, ballistic missile-related or other weapons of mass destruction-related programs,” the EU said in an official statement.
The newly listed entity is said be involved in the „development and operational implementation of ballistic-missile related or other weapons of mass destruction-related programs”. The European Council commented that the move expanded the existing sanctions in a way that they now include 66 individuals and 42 entities in North Korea. The UN Security Council imposed the toughest sanctions yet in March this year, which included unprecedented inspections of all cargo to and from the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea, which excluded itself from the rest of the world about 60 years ago. The UN punitive measures also targeted exports of coal, iron, and iron ore as well as other minerals including the supply of aviation fuel as part of efforts to make the country abandon its nuclear ambitions.
The EU established diplomatic relations with North Korea in 2001 and the EU countries’ embassies in Pyongyang take turns to serve as the EU representative office. The EU supports international efforts to promote peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, in particular through the Six Party Talks process. Meanwhile, being a major provider of development assistance, the block has allocated more than €366 million on food aid, medical, water and sanitation assistance and agricultural support since 1995.