EU to consider additional North Korea sanctions after missile launch

TV coverage of North Korea's missile test. Tokyo, 4 July. [Frank Robichon/EPA]

The European Union on Tuesday (4 July) warned it may consider additional sanctions against North Korea after it carried out what Pyongyang tested what it claimed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Last month, the EU expanded its sanctions blacklist after North Korea launched a volley of surface-to-ship cruise missiles off its east coast.

The EU’s external affairs arm said in a statement that the bloc expected North Korea to abide by UN resolutions and halt all work on its nuclear and missile programmes.

The European Union “will consider an appropriate response, in close consultation with key partners and in line with UN Security Council deliberations, including possible additional restrictive measures,” it said.

The EU expected North Korea to refrain from any further action which could increase regional tensions and to take part in talks on resolving the crisis, it added.

In an unusual joint statement earlier, Russia and China condemned the missile test as “unacceptable” and urged against “any statements or actions that could lead to an increase in tensions.”

EU sanctions against North Korea date back to 2006 and are part of international efforts to halt a nuclear and ballistic missile programme which experts say is intended to give Pyongyang the capability to hit the US mainland.

The North Korea launch came as Americans prepared to mark Independence Day and it sparked a Twitter outburst from President Donald Trump who urged China to act to “end this nonsense once and for all”.

The North’s possession of a working ICBM — something Trump had vowed “won’t happen” – represents a milestone for the communist regime.

It could also radically alter the calculus for countries seeking to thwart the military goals of the isolated state.

Some experts said the device could reach Alaska. Others suggested it could go much further toward the US mainland though there was widespread scepticism of the North’s claim of the missile being able to “strike any place in the world”.

The United States requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, which is expected to take place today.

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