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EU Tightens Sanctions on DPRK

19 July 2017

At the Foreign Affairs Council on 17 July the EU agreed to tougher sanctions against North Korea following its latest test of an intercontinental missile on 4 July. The statement called on the DPRK to ‘to comply without delay, fully and unconditionally, with its obligations under all relevant UN Security Council resolutions and to refrain from any further provocative action that could increase regional and global tensions.’

The EU sanctions' regime towards the DPRK is currently among the most restrictive in operation. The Council stated that it would now consider ‘further appropriate responses in close consultation with key partners and in line with UN Security Council deliberations, notably through additional autonomous restrictive measures.’ It noted that the DPRK needed to raise hard currency to fund its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and thus called on States ‘to exercise vigilance.’ This is likely to lead to closer surveillance of North Korean workers in some EU member states.

The Council welcomed President’s Moon’s outreach to the DPRK and supported Seoul’s leading role in the dialogue process. It hoped that dialogue and confidence building measures would lead to a reduction in tension and ‘the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and the full implementation of all relevant UN Security Council resolutions.’ The EU was ready to support such a process in consultation with key partners.

The Council reaffirmed the EU policy of Critical Engagement with the DPRK, ‘which combines pressure with sanctions and other measures while keeping communication and dialogue channels open.’ The EU policy of Critical Engagement was not an end in itself but a means to promote the DPRK's full compliance with UNSC Resolutions in terms of abandoning its nuclear, WMD and ballistic missile programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner and progress on all other issues of concern.

In a swipe at China the statement highlighted ‘the importance of unity of the international community in addressing this challenge.’ Closer engagement with all EU's key partners in the region and worldwide is essential in this respect, including through enhanced outreach activities and support for the full implementation of UN sanctions by all countries. 

The statement concluded that the DPRK's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes diverted resources from the necessary investments into social and economic development and reform, which would benefit the DPRK population at large.  It further supported the ROK’s aspiration to restart inter-Korean dialogue on humanitarian affairs and deplored the ongoing and grave human rights' abuses by the DPRK.

EU High Rep Mogherini also stated that the DPRK would be on the agenda of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) meeting in August that she planned to attend.