March 31, 2016 / 6:53 PM / a year ago

EU expands sanctions against North Korea to match U.N. move

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends the test-fire of an anti-tank guided weapon in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang February 27, 2015.KCNA

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union on Thursday expanded trade and financial sanctions on North Korea, following up on harsh new measures imposed by the U.N. Security Council earlier this month.

The extension follows a nuclear test carried out by North Korea in January.

The EU's External Action Service, which oversees the bloc's policy in international affairs, said the new sanctions extended export and import bans on items that could help build up capacity of North Korea's armed forces.

The 28-nation EU also expanded financial sanctions against North Korea, including a new asset freeze on government entities linked to Pyongyang's nuclear or ballistic missile programs.

The EU first imposed sanctions on North Korea in 2006.

Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; editing by John Stonestreet

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