The European Union will enforce new UN sanctions over North Korea's nuclear programme while pressing ahead with work on fresh measures of its own, the bloc's diplomatic chief said today.
The UN Security Council yesterday unanimously backed new sanctions against Kim Jong-Un's regime, including restrictions on shipments of oil products, drawing an angry response from Pyongyang.
The move came amid international outrage over the pariah state's sixth nuclear test -- its most powerful to date -- earlier this month and its intercontinental ballistic missile launch in July.
EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini told the European Parliament meeting in Strasbourg, France, that ramping up pressure through tighter, better enforced sanctions, was key to forcing the North to negotiate an end to the crisis.
"We now will implement new UN sanctions as we have always done before," Mogherini said. "Second, we will work to make sure all our international partners do the same to ensure the maximum level of efficiency for the economic measures.
"Third, we will continue the discussion we launched last week on additional EU sanctions to complement action decided by the Security Council and put maximum pressure on North Korea."
After a meeting of the 28 EU foreign ministers in Tallinn last week, Mogherini said work would begin on new measures against the North to add to the broad range of sanctions the bloc already has in place.
A number of EU countries including Britain are calling for the expulsion of North Korean workers posted in Europe, saying the revenue they generate is used to fund the nuclear programme.
Mogherini said the EU was focused on achieving a Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons, through diplomatic means.
"A military attack would be useless and harmful as it could easily spiral into a large-scale conflict. The consequences would be totally unpredictable and certainly dramatic for the people of the Korean peninsula, the region and most likely the world," she told MEPs.