The European Union imposed travel bans and asset freezes on North Koreans accused of helping Pyongyang evade United Nations sanctions linked to the secretive country’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests.
EU foreign ministers agreed the measures yesterday in their latest round of sanctions on North Korea that have reduced trade with Pyongyang to a trickle in an attempt to show solidarity with major trading partners South Korea and Japan.
The European Union, along with the United States, China and Russia, signed onto the latest rounds of United Nations Security Council sanctions against North Korea, imposed last year after the latest test on Nov. 28.
But it is also seeking to keep up pressure on those still doing business with Pyongyang.
Many of those sanctioned were identified by UN experts as North Korean diplomats in Africa and Asia using front companies in countries such as Mozambique, Eritrea and Malaysia to provide coal, arms, radio equipment and other critical supplies to the North Korean regime.
Meanwhile, the European Union yesterday announced new sanctions on seven senior Venezuelan officials, saying this was an expression of the bloc’s concern with the political crisis under President Nicolas Maduro.
Reuters reported last week the EU would make the move, which introduces a travel ban and an asset freeze on people in charge of security forces accused of widespread abuses, particularly during the 2017 anti-government protests.
While the EU already has an arms embargo in place on Venezuela, it has not considered imposing an oil embargo or blacklisting Maduro himself.
Oil and related products make up three quarters of Venezuela’s exports to the EU. The country has the world’s largest proven oil reserves but suffers inflation and food shortages.