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BRUSSELS - The European Union (EU) on Monday strengthened its restrictive measures against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), according to an official statement following an EU Foreign Affairs Council's meeting.
"In view of the recent nuclear test and ballistic missile test on December 12, this is the EU's first step in defence of the international non-proliferation regime," said the statement.
After the decision, the total number of citizens subject to a travel ban and an asset freeze rises to 26 while the total number of entities targeted by an asset freeze amounts to 33.
The EU Foreign Affairs Council agreed autonomous sanctions such as banning the export and import of key components for ballistic missiles with the DPRK, such as certain types of aluminum. The precise scope of that provision will be defined in implementing legislation that is yet to be adopted.
The EU also prohibited trade in new public bonds from the DPRK. It outlawed trade in gold, precious metals and diamonds with DPRK's public bodies and stopped the delivery of new DPRK denominated banknotes and coinage to the central bank of the DPRK.
DPRK banks will no longer be allowed to open new branches in the EU or establish joint ventures with European financial institutions. Nor will European banks be permitted to establish offices and subsidiaries in the DPRK.
Finally, the Council took steps enabling future restrictions against persons and entities involved in trade with the DPRK in conventional arms or nuclear and ballistic components.
"The Foreign Affairs Council expressed its political determination to consider further restrictive measures in consultation with key partners," said the statement.