north korea flag.jpg
Photograph: Photo by Roman Harak, used under CC BY-SA

The European Union on Friday imposed new economic sanctions on North Korea in the wake of widely condemned missile tests, saying that the reclusive country's actions pose a "grave threat to international peace and security."

Nuclear and missile tests by Pyongyang since the beginning of the year have raised tensions with neighbouring countries, as well as the United States and the EU.

In March, the United Nations imposed its toughest sanctions in 20 years on North Korea with the aim of stopping the communist country's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

Friday's measures "complement and reinforce" the UN sanctions regime, EU governments said in a statement.

They include bans on the import of petroleum products and luxury goods from North Korea, on financial support for trade with the country, and on the transfer of most funds to and from North Korea.

Restrictions on investments in and from the country will also be put in place, while aircraft and vessels from North Korea will be prohibited from entering EU territory.

The new measures come on top of an existing EU ban on the trade of arms, goods or technology that could contribute to weapons of mass destruction or nuclear or missile programmes in North Korea, as well as financial, trade and transport restrictions on the nation.

The 28-country EU has also issued travel bans and asset freezes against 66 people and 42 entities, including high-ranking military officials in North Korea.

The new sanctions are due to come into effect on Saturday, when the decision will be published in the EU's Official Journal.

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