BRUSSELS (BNO NEWS) — The European Union (EU) on Monday announced that the Council strengthened its restrictive measures against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), following the country’s recent nuclear and ballistic missile tests.
On December 12, 2012, the DPRK successfully launched a long-range Unha-3 rocket and placed a Kwangmyongsong-3 (Bright Star-3) weather satellite into orbit, prompting condemnation from other countries which have described it as a long-range missile test in disguise.
The EU’s announcement issues sanctions approved by the United Nations (UN) in January, but also include autonomous EU measure. The decision also marks its first step in defense of the international non-proliferation regime, it said in a statement.
The decision brought the total number of people subject to a travel ban and an asset freeze to 26 while the total number of entities targeted by an asset freeze now amounts to 33. In addition, the Council agreed EU autonomous sanctions, banning the export and import key components for ballistic missiles with the DPRK, such as certain types of aluminum used in ballistic missile-related systems. The precise scope of that provision will be defined in implementing legislation that is yet to be adopted.
The Council also prohibited trade in new public bonds from the DPRK. It outlawed trade in gold, precious metals and diamonds with North Korean public bodies and stopped the delivery of new DPRK denominated banknotes and coinage to the central bank of the DPRK. North Korean banks will no more be allowed to open new branches in the Union nor establish joint ventures with European financial institutions. Nor will European banks be permitted to establish offices and subsidiaries in the DPRK.
North Korea’s latest tests were its fifth attempt at a long-range rocket launch since 1998 and appeared to be its most successful one yet as all three stages of the rocket performed as planned. The test, nonetheless, rose tensions in the region amidst concern the technology could one day deliver a nuclear warhead capable of hitting targets as far away as the continental U.S.
The first attempt at a long-range rocket launch happened in August 1998 when North Korea launched an Unha-1 rocket carrying the Kwangmyŏngsŏng-1 (Bright Star-1) satellite, but it failed during the final stage. Other failed attempts took place in 1996, 2009 and in April 2012.
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