European Union agrees sanctions against North Korea for nuclear test

BRUSSELS (AFP) - The European Union agreed on a raft of new sanctions on Monday against North Korea in retaliation for the country's nuclear test last week, EU officials said.

The measures range from financial to travel bans and asset freezes against individuals.

They include implementation of individual sanctions approved at United Nations level, as well as EU restrictions on financial dealings and trade sanctions on items potentially linked to Pyongyang's ballistic and nuclear programmes, the source said.

"It is a tough package that aims to mark our opposition to the nuclear test" conducted by Pyongyang on Feb 12, said a senior EU diplomat who asked not to be named.

The UN Security Council on Jan 22 ordered increased sanctions against North Korea, adding its state space agency, a bank, four trading companies and four individuals to an existing UN sanctions list.

Earlier this month, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton condemned North Korea's third nuclear test "in the strongest possible terms".

The test was "a further blatant challenge to the global non-proliferation regime and an outright violation of the DPRK's international obligations not to produce or test nuclear weapons" under UN resolutions, Ms Ashton said.

"As such, it constitutes a serious threat to a lasting peace in the Korean Peninsula and to both regional and international security and stability in North-East Asia," she added.

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