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EU Imposes New Sanctions on North Korea

FILE - A North Korean factory worker walks through a processing hall at the Pyongyang 326 Electric Wire Factory, Jan. 10, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea.

The European Union has imposed new sanctions on North Korea aimed at punishing the country for its nuclear and ballistic weapons program.

EU foreign ministers agreed Monday to a total ban on EU investment in the communist country, a measure that goes beyond the latest U.N. sanctions. They also banned the sale of oil and refined petroleum products to North Korea, in a largely symbolic move aimed at encouraging countries that have more significant levels of trade with North Korea to follow suit.

The ministers also cut the amount of money that people can send to North Korea from $17,700 to $5,900, saying they believe the remittances are being used to back Pyongyang's arms program.

As part of the new sanctions, North Korean workers in the European Union will not have their work permits renewed when they expire, except for refugees and those needing international protection.

The measures also added travel bans and asset freezes to three more top North Korean officials and six businesses.

The EU said the new steps were taken because of the "persistent threat to international peace and stability" posed by North Korea's government.

Last month, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a tough new round of economic sanctions against North Korea in response to its September 3 nuclear test of a possible hydrogen bomb.