EU ready to increase sanctions against North Korea

Brussels is prepared to ramp up sanctions against North Korea after it conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sunday, the European Council President Donald Tusk said.

“The EU stands ready to sharpen its policy of sanctions and invites North Korea to restart dialogue on its programmers without condition,” Tusk said in a statement.

“We call on the UN Security Council to adopt further UN sanctions and show stronger resolve to achieve a peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” the European Council President pointed out adding that by holding a nuclear test, Pyongyang “gravely violates DPRK’s obligations under international law.”

“The DPRK must abandon its nuclear, weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, it must cease all related activities at once,” he said.

Meanwhile, the  German chancellery said in a statement that Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed during a phone call on Sunday  “that North Korea has trampled on international law and that the international community must, therefore, react with determination against this new escalation.”

Separately, Macron also spoke on the phone with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who shared the German-French position “on the necessity of a strong international reaction”.

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday said the UN Security Council should urgently look at imposing new sanctions on North Korea and speed up implementation of existing ones.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel also said Pyongyang’s latest test “means that we have to find a level-headed but clear answer”.

“We will discuss this reaction with our partners in the EU. I am sure that the UN Security Council will also take necessary measures in a decisive manner,” he said.

The EU has steadily ramped up its sanctions against Kim Jong-Un’s North Korea, particularly in the last few months.

Most recently in August, the bloc expanded its North Korea sanctions blacklist after Pyongyang tested an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the US mainland.

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