EU adopts total ban policy on investment in N. Korea

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Brussels, Oct 16 (IANS) The European Union (EU) on Monday adopted a total ban policy on EU investment in North Korea, in a bid to ratchet up economic pressure on the Northeast Asia country over its ongoing nuclear and ballistic missile programme.

The total ban, taking effect immediately, is one of the EU’s autonomous measures against North Korea which was adopted by EU foreign ministers at a meeting in Luxembourg, according to a statement of the Foreign Affairs Council.

The ban was previously limited to investment in the nuclear and conventional arms-related industry.

The Council also slapped a total ban on the sales of refined petroleum products and crude oil to North Korea, and slashed the amount of personal remittances transferred to Pyongyang from 15,000 euros ($17,7000) to 5,000 euros ($5,900).

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Furthermore, the Council added three persons and six entities to a blacklist of those subject to an asset freeze and travel restrictions, bringing the backlist to 41 individuals and 10 entities.

The EU has carried out all UN sanctions against North Korea, in addition to its autonomous restrictive measures against Pyongyang.

The UN Security Council on September 11 unanimously adopted a resolution to impose fresh sanctions on Pyongyang over its nuclear test on September 3 in violation of the previous Security Council resolutions.

The new sanctions severely restrict Pyongyang’s oil imports, and ban its textile exports worth $800 million dollars and the remittances from about 93,000 overseas North Korea labourers.

Reiterating that the “dual–track approach” and the “suspension for suspension” initiative are practical methods to solve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang has called on all relevant parties to actively support China’s efforts to push for dialogue and negotiation, and play a constructive role for a peaceful solution of the issue.

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Pyongyang on September 3 detonated a hydrogen bomb capable of being carried by an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the sixth nuclear test it has undertaken, running counter to relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the goal of denuclearising the Korean Peninsula.

–IANS

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