EU increases bans on North Korea

AFP . Brussels | Update:

EUThe European Union on Thursday expanded its North Korean sanctions blacklist as fiery rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang sent tensions soaring.

The 28-nation EU has steadily increased asset freezes and travel bans on North Korea over its repeated violation of UN resolutions on its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

After tests of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the US mainland, the UN last week imposed the most damaging restrictions so far aimed at slashing North Korea’s vital export earnings.

The EU member states said in a statement that in accordance with the UN resolution, the bloc was adding nine individuals and four entities-including state-owned Foreign Trade Bank (FTB) -- to its sanctions list.

“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 statement noted.

The decision brings the total number of individuals listed by the EU to 103, plus 57 entities.

The European Council, which groups the EU member states, said they would also work on swift implementation of other parts of the UN resolution, including efforts to curb earnings sent home by North Koreans working abroad.

US President Donald Trump earlier this week stunned the world with an apocalyptic warning to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea. Pyongyang responded in kind by announcing a detailed plan to send a salvo of missiles toward the US territory of Guam.

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