EU’s turn to unilaterally sanction North Korea
The European Union (EU) announced sanctions on eight individuals and four entities for their involvement in North Korea’s weapons programs, following other sanctions recently imposed by the United States and its allies amid inaction by the United Nations Security Council.
“The new listings target those engaged in or providing support and funds for DPRK’s nuclear-related and ballistic-missile-related programs,” the Council of the EU said in a press release Monday, referring to the North by the acronym for its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“The EU condemns the significant increase of illegal missile launches by DPRK and its continuous undermining of the global non-proliferation regime.”
The new sanctions target representatives of the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation — North Korea’s primary exporter of ballistic missile-related equipment and conventional weapons — as well as officials in the Second Academy of Natural Sciences and Ryonbong General Corporation.
The oil tankers Unica and New Konk, which sanctions monitors have observed covertly shipping oil to the North, were also listed in the EU sanctions.
Under sanctions passed by the Security Council in 2017, the North’s refined petroleum imports are capped at 500,000 barrels a year.
The EU maintains what its diplomatic service calls “a policy of critical engagement” of North Korea, aimed at upholding the nuclear non-proliferation regime and improving the state of human rights in the North.
All but two EU member states — France and Estonia — maintain diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.
The new sanctions follow other unilateral sanctions by the United States, Japan and South Korea amid the Security Council’s failure to adopt new measures punishing the North, despite its launching of a record 63 ballistic missiles this past year alone.
The council’s inaction is due to opposition from China and Russia, both veto-wielding permanent members who have blamed the United States for failing to engage with the North, despite Pyongyang’s consistent rejection of talks with either Washington or Seoul.
People and entities targeted by EU sanctions have their assets frozen and are banned from entering EU member states. EU entities or individuals are prohibited from providing funds or “economic resources” to sanctioned entities.
South Korea, the United States and Japan imposed back-to-back sanctions on the North earlier this month, with Seoul and Tokyo both sanctioning entities that had already been sanctioned earlier by Washington.
In a separate statement Monday, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Washington would “not hesitate” to sanction those who support the DPRK’s weapons programs.
“We’re always looking for individuals who would be appropriate to sanction under our various authorities, including those authorities that are targeted at the DPRK’s ballistic missile program, its nuclear weapons program, its WMD program more broadly,” Price said.
Washington has also targeted several Chinese and Russian nationals and entities for violating U.S. and United Nations sanctions against North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons programs.
BY MICHAEL LEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]