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The European Union has a policy of critical engagement towards the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). Its goals are to support a lasting reduction of tensions on the Korean Peninsula and in the region, the upholding of the international non-proliferation regime, and the improvement of the situation of human rights in the DPRK. The EU actively cooperates with all its partners in the region to pursue these objectives.
The European Union and the DPRK established diplomatic relations in 2001. Political contacts had, however, started earlier, with a political dialogue being held on a relatively regular basis since 1998. The most recent round of this dialogue (14th session) was held in June 2015 in Pyongyang.
The EU and the DPRK have very different views on issues that are of major concern to the international community, in particular on the DPRK's weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile-related programmes, human rights and regional relations. In this context, the EU has been robustly implementing the Resolutions of the UN Security Council (see section on Sanctions) and has been at the forefront of efforts aimed at improving the human rights situation in the country, including at UN level, in particular with the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly. It strongly supports the DPRK's substantial and credible re-engagement with the international community on all of these themes. The European Union has remained steadfast in its belief that dialogue and engagement with the DPRK are necessary to achieving a positive resolution of all above-mentioned issues of concern. The European Union's engages with the DPRK not only through regular contacts - including via the political dialogue - but also through concrete projects on the ground.
The EU has no Delegation in the DPRK. Its local representation is ensured, in turn, by one of the seven Member States (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom) that have resident Embassies in the country. In total, 26 Member States have diplomatic relations with the DPRK. The DPRK Embassy to the UK follows EU affairs.
The EU has been a provider of assistance (humanitarian and food aid) since 1995. Most of the projects it currently funds - under the responsibility of the European Commission - relate to food security, health, water and sanitation and are of benefit to the most vulnerable people in the DPRK's society. These projects are carried out by various implementing partners some of whom are resident in the country. Emergency aid remains available, should the need emerge, via the Commission. Member States have their own development and aid projects in the DPRK along complementary lines to those of the EU.
Eligible beneficiaries, organisations and institutions of the DPRK may participate in the EU's education, research and innovation programmes, provided that conditions in the relevant work programme are met. Member States have their own education/cultural programmes open to DPRK citizens/entities.
EU-DPRK trade in goods in 2015 totalled approximately EUR 30 million. In 2014 it was around EUR 34 million, in 2013 EUR 146 million, and in 2012 EUR 71 million. No data on trade in services is available. There are some investments in the DPRK of EU origin, but the overall amount appears to be very limited. The DPRK has concluded Bilateral Investment Protection Treaties with six Member States, five of which are in force. EU-DPRK economic interaction has been reduced as a result of several UN Security Council resolutions and EU restrictive measures against DPRK.
The EU has adopted a number of legal acts imposing restrictive measures against the DPRK, which implement several UN Security Council resolutions - 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013) and 2270 (2016) - and include additional autonomous measures that complement and reinforce the UN-based sanctions. The relevant provisions are to be found in Council Decision 2016/849/CFSP of 27 May 2016 concerning restrictive measures against the DPRK and repealing Decision 2013/183 CFSPand Council Regulation (EC) No 329/2007 of 27 March 2007 concerning restrictive measures against the DPRK, both as amended.
These restrictive measures for the most part target the DPRK's nuclear-related, other weapons of mass destruction-related and ballistic missile-related programmes. They include prohibitions on the trade of goods, services and technology which could contribute to the DPRK’s above-mentioned programmes which the UN has prohibited. A number of people and entities that have been linked to these illegal programmes have been subject to travel restrictions and asset freeze, both by the UN and autonomously by the EU. Other restrictions (in application of UN sanctions and/or as EU autonomous measure) also apply in the broader trade, transport and financial sectors.
The lists of persons and entities subject to restrictive measures are set out in Annex I, II and Annex III (currently empty) to Decision 2016/849/CFSP and Annex IV, V and Annex Va (currently empty) to Regulation (EC) No 329/2007.
Export and import restrictions
Prohibition on the export and import of arms and related materiel of all types, including the provision of related technical and financial assistance or taking part in activities aimed at the circumvention of those prohibitions. Prohibition on related training including hosting of trainers, advisors, or other officials for the purpose of military, paramilitary, or police related training. Prohibition on services related to manufacture, maintenance or use and with respect to the shipment of items to or from the DPRK for repair, servicing, refurbishing, testing, reverse-engineering and marketing.
Prohibition on the supply, sale or transfer or export of any item if a Member State determines it could directly contribute to the development of the operational capabilities of the DPRK’s armed forces, or to exports that support/enhance the capabilities of armed forces of another State outside the DPRK. Certain exemptions apply.
Dual use goods
Prohibition on the export and import of goods and technology which could contribute to DPRK's nuclear-related, ballistic missile-related or other weapons of mass destruction-related programmes, as determined by the UN Security Council or the UN Sanctions Committee, including a prohibition on the provision of related technical and financial assistance or taking part in activities aimed at the circumvention of those prohibitions.
Prohibition on the export and import of certain other dual-use goods and technology, including dual-use goods as contained in Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 (“EU dual-use Regulation”), including any further items, materials, equipment relating to dual use goods and technology, including a prohibition on the provision of related technical and financial assistance or taking part in activities aimed at the circumvention of those prohibitions.
Prohibition on the export and import of certain key components for the ballistic missile sector, including a prohibition on the provision of related technical and financial assistance, or taking part in activities aimed at the circumvention of those prohibitions.
Prohibition on the export and import of any other item that could contribute to the DPRK’s nuclear or ballistic missile programmes, or to the evasion of prohibited activities, including a prohibition on the provision of related technical and financial assistance, or taking part in activities aimed at the circumvention of those prohibitions.
Gold, precious metals, diamonds
Prohibition on trade in gold, precious metals and diamonds with the government of the DPRK, its public bodies and the Central Bank of the DPRK, or persons and entities acting on their behalf or at their direction, including a prohibition on the provision of related technical and financial assistance.
Prohibition on any import directly or indirectly from the DPRK, from its territory or by its nationals or using its flag vessels or aircraft, of coal, iron and iron ore, gold, titanium ore, vanadium ore, and rare earth minerals. Certain exemptions apply for coal and iron supply, sale or transfers.
Banknotes and coinage
Prohibition on the delivery of DPRK denominated banknotes and coinage to the Central Bank of the DPRK.
Prohibition on the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK and import, purchase or transfer from the DPRK of luxury goods (export and import ban of luxury goods). The EU defines the latter as falling under 22 different categories, for a total of over 300 items.
Aviation and Rocket Fuel
Prohibition of the sale or supply of aviation fuel, including aviation gasoline, naptha-type jet fuel, kerosene-type jet fuel and kerosene-type rocket fuel, to the DPRK by nationals of Member States or from the territories of Member States, or using the flag vessels or aircraft of Member States, whether or not originating in the territories of Member States.
Prohibition of the import, purchase or transfer from the DPRK of petroleum products not covered by UN Security Council resolution 2270 (2016).
Restrictions on financial support for trade
Prohibition on the provision of public financial support, including the granting of export credits, guarantees or insurance, for trade with the DPRK to their nationals or entities involved in such trade.
Prohibition on the provision of private financial support including the granting of export credits, guarantees or insurance for trade with the DPRK where such financial support could contribute to DPRK's nuclear-related, ballistic missiles-related or other weapons of mass destruction-related programmes or to other prohibited activities, or to the evasion of prohibited activities.
Prohibition on investment by the DPRK in the territories under the jurisdiction of the Member States.
Prohibition on the acquisition or extension of a participation, the creation of any joint venture or the provision of investments services in, with or to entities in the DPRK, that are engaged in activities relating to the DPRK's illegal programmes or in the mining, refining and chemical industry sectors. Ban on any financing or financial assistance to entities in DPRK that are engaged in these activities.
Financial assistance by Member States to the DPRK
Prohibition on new commitments for grants, financial assistance and concessional loans to the DPRK by Member States, except for humanitarian and developmental purposes addressing the need of the civilian population or the promotion of denuclearisation. Member States shall exercise vigilance with a view to reducing current commitments.
Transfer of funds
Prohibition on the transfer of funds to and from the DPRK. Financial institutions under the jurisdiction of Member States shall not enter into, or continue to participate in, any transactions with banks domiciled in the DPRK, including branches or subsidiaries and the Central Bank of the DPRK.
Transactions that falling within certain specified categories are exempted, for example transactions regarding foodstuffs, healthcare or medical equipment, or for agricultural or humanitarian purposes. Transactions above a certain threshold have to be authorised in advance.
Monitoring of financial activities of financial institutions
Enhanced monitoring by Member States of activities of financial institutions within their jurisdiction in relation to their activities with regard to DPRK banks, branches and subsidiaries of DPRK banks and financial both inside and outside EU and, entities controlled by DPRK persons and entities, to avoid such activities contributing to the DPRK's illegal programmes.
EU financial institutions are required in their activities with such banks and financial entities to exercise continuous monitoring of account activity, require completion of all information fields of payment instructions, maintain records of all transactions for a period of 5 years and report transactions they suspect may contribute to the DPRK’s illegal programmes to national competent authorities.
Branches, subsidiaries or corresponding banking relations
Prohibition for DPRK financial institutions, including the Central Bank of the DPRK, to open branches, subsidiaries or representative offices in EU. Obligation on Member States to close existing branches, subsidiaries and representative offices; and terminate any joint ventures, ownership interests or correspondent banking relationships with DPRK banks in their territory.
DPRK banks may also no longer establish joint ventures with, take an ownership interest in EU banks or establish corresponding banking relations with EU banks. Obligation to terminate existing joint ventures, ownership interest and correspondent banking relationships.
Financial institutions within the territories of Member States or under their jurisdiction shall be prohibited from opening representative offices, subsidiaries, branches or banking accounts in the DPRK. Existing representative offices, subsidiaries or banking accounts in the DPRK shall be closed, when there are reasonable grounds to believe that this could contribute to DPRK's nuclear or ballistic missiles programmes or other prohibited activities.
Prohibition on trade and related services for DPRK public or public-guaranteed bonds issued after 18 February 2013 with the Government of DPRK, the Central Bank of the DPRK and other DPRK banks or financial institutions.
Obligation for Member States to inspect all cargo to and from the DPRK, and cargo brokered or facilitated by the DPRK or DPRK nationals or persons or entities acting on their behalf, for the purposes of ensuring that the cargo does not transfer items prohibited by UN Security Council resolutions. Inspection shall also take place when there are reasonable grounds to believe that the cargo contains items whose supply, sale, transfer or export is prohibited under Council Decision 2016/849.
Requirement to inspect vessels on the high seas where there are reasonable grounds to believe that vessels carry prohibited items.
Obligation for aircraft and vessels transporting cargo to and from the DPRK to supply additional pre-arrival and pre-departure information for all goods brought into or out of EU.
Obligation to deny vessels which refuse inspection entry to Member States' ports. Obligation to prohibit the entry into Member States ports of any vessel that is owned, operated or crewed by the DPRK, unless there is an emergency.
Obligation to deny permission to land in, take off from or overfly Member States' territory to any aircraft, operated by DPRK carriers or originating from the DPRK, unless there is an emergency.
Prohibition to take part in activities aimed at the circumvention of the above transport sector measures.
Prohibition on the provision of bunkering or ship supply services to DPRK vessels if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the vessels carry prohibited items, unless necessary for humanitarian purposes.
Leasing, chartering and registering of vessel and aircrafts
Prohibition on nationals of Member States from leasing, chartering flagged vessels, aircraft or providing crew services to the DPRK, designated persons and entities, or any persons or entities whom the Member State determines have assisted in in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
Obligation to de-register any vessel that is owned, operated or crewed by the DPRK and not to register any such vessel that is de-registered by another Member State.
Prohibition on nationals, entities and persons within the territory of Member States from registering vessels in the DPRK or obtaining authorization for a vessel to use the DPRK's flag. Member States are prohibited from owning, leasing, operating, or providing vessel classification, certification or associated service and insurance, to any DPRK-flagged vessel.
Restrictions on admission and residence
Restrictions on admission
Prohibition to admit to the territory of Member States persons responsible, including through supporting or promoting, for the DPRK's nuclear-related, ballistic missile-related or other weapons of mass destruction-related programmes, and persons acting on their behalf or at their direction.
Prohibition to admit to the territory of Member States persons who provide financial services or the transfer to through or from Member States' territory of any financial or other assets or resources that could contribute to the DPRK's nuclear-related, ballistic missile-related or other weapons of mass destruction-related programmes, or persons who are involved in the supply to or from the DPRK of arms and related materiel of all types, or dual-use goods.
Prohibition to admit to the territory of Member States persons working on behalf of or at the direction of listed persons and entities, or persons assisting in the evasion of sanctions.
Humanitarian exemptions and certain other exemptions apply.
Restrictions on residence
Obligation to expel from the territory of Member States DPRK diplomats, government representatives, other DPRK nationals acting in a governmental or representative office capacity, and DPRK or foreign nationals if a Member State determines are working on behalf or at the direction of a designated person and/or entity or of a person and/or entity assisting in evasion or violation of restrictive measures.
Freezing of funds and economic resources
Obligations to freeze all funds and economic resources belonging to the same persons as referred to under “restrictions on admission” and on entities involved in the activities mentioned above for “restrictions on admission”. It is also prohibited to make funds or economic resources available to these persons and entities. Likewise, it is prohibited to take part in activities aimed at the circumvention of those measures. A number of standard exemptions apply, inter alia in relation to funds and economic resources necessary to satisfy basic needs and for the payment of legal services.
Obligations to freeze all funds and economic resources of the entities of the Government of the DPRK and Workers’ Party of Korea if a Member State determines are associated with prohibited activities, including designated persons and entities, as well as any persons or entities acting on behalf of or at their direction, or those owned or controlled by them.
Obligation to close the representative offices of designated persons and entities, as well as on any persons or entities acting on behalf of such designated persons or entities, as well as prohibit them from participating in joint ventures and any other business arrangements.
Other restrictive measures
Specialised teaching or training
Obligation for Member States to prevent specialised teaching or training of DPRK nationals in disciplines that could contribute to the DPRK's proliferation sensitive nuclear activities and the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems, including teaching of advanced physics, advanced computer simulation and related computer sciences, geospatial navigation, nuclear engineering, aerospace engineering, aeronautical engineering and related disciplines.
Obligation for Member States to exercise enhanced vigilance over DPRK diplomats in their territory so as to prevent them from contributing to the DPRK's illegal programmes or other prohibited activities.