The EU's expanded North Korea sanctions list is aimed at building pressure on Pyongyang to cease its nuclear program. The EU is also lining up fresh sanctions to rein in the rogue nation.
The 28-member European Union on Thursday added nine North Korean individuals and four organizations to the blacklist of sanctioned bodies, including the North Korean state-owned Foreign Trade Bank.
The expanded sanctions list is in line with UN sanctions announced in August after North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States.
The reclusive nation once again sparked international outrage earlier this month when it conducted its sixth and the most powerful nuclear test, prompting UN Security Council to impose new sanctions.
The latest EU action does not relate to the new measures announced by the Security Council on Monday when the powerful 15-member body slapped a new round of sanctions on North Korea.
The EU said it was lining up fresh penalties of its own in addition to the latest UN sanctions, which ban North Korea's key textile exports and cap fuel supplies.
The EU said Thursday's measures targeted Pyongyang's main exports, including coal iron, iron ore, seafood, lead and lead ore. The expansion of the sanctions is also aimed at limiting North Korea's ability to generate revenue and to access the international financial system."
The United States, meanwhile, called on China, North Korea's largest trading partner, to use its oil supplies to convince the North to halt its nuclear program and come to the negotiating table.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday said the United States had wanted to see tougher UN sanction resolution on North Korea. The initial US draft on Monday was weakened to bring China on board by dropping a proposal to impose a full embargo on oil exports to North Korea.
"I am hopeful that China, as a great country, a world power, will decide on their own, will take it upon them to use that very powerful tool of oil supply to persuade North Korea to reconsider its current path towards weapons development, reconsider its approach to dialogue and negotiations in the future," Tillerson said.
A North Korean government agency on Thursday threatened to "sink" Japan for supporting the latest UN sanctions.
"The four islands of the (Japanese) archipelago should be sunken into the sea" by a nuclear bomb, the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee said in a statement carried by the North's official KCNA news agency.
Japan's termed the threat "extremely provocative and outrageous."
The committee, which handles the North's external ties and propaganda, also lashed out that the UN Security Council, calling it "a tool of evil" made up of "money-bribed" countries that move at the order of the United States.
North Korea reiterated its threat to destroy the United States.
"Let's reduce the U.S. mainland into ashes and darkness. Let's vent our spite with mobilization of all retaliation means which have been prepared till now," the statement said.
ap/sms (AFP, Reuters, AP)