The European Union has responded to the North Korean threats to send a salvo of missiles toward the US territory of Guam by expanding the sanctions blacklist to align the EU’s punitive measures with a new United Nations Security Council resolution. Brussels has added nine individuals and four entities including state-owned Foreign Trade Bank (FTB) to its sanctions list, thus bringing the total number of individuals listed by the EU to 103 and 57 entities. The EU had previously repeatedly used punitive measures such as asset freezes and travel bans due to violations of UN resolutions on its nuclear and ballistic programs.
“This resolution was adopted on 5 August 2017 in response to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s ongoing nuclear-weapon and ballistic missile-development activities, in violation and flagrant disregard of previous UN Security Council resolutions,” the EU’s statement said. In response to North Korea’s tests of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) that could reach the US mainland as far as Chicago and New York, the UN last week imposed the most severe restrictions so far aimed at curbing the country’s vital export income. Brussels is moreover looking into the ways to curb earnings sent home by North Koreans working abroad.
Federica Mogherini also added that the EU was maintaining a dialogue with South Korea who is playing a leading role. “We believe that the solution to tensions on the peninsula lies in the peninsula itself and that Seoul has to have full ownership and leadership in the way forward, including through confidence-building measures.” Seoul has extended an invitation to Pyongyang to initiate military to military dialogues and Mrs. Mogherini said that “the EU is ready to support these efforts in all possible ways.” The EU has a policy of critical engagement towards North Korea and its goals are to support a lasting diminution of tensions on the Korean peninsula and uphold the international non-proliferation regime.