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EU approves tighter sanctions on N. Korea

The latest sanctions expand on those approved by the UN Security Council in January.

The European Union has approved tighter sanctions against North Korea, after talk of another nuclear test.

BRUSSELS - European Union governments agreed on Monday to tighten sanctions against North Korea, which restricts the country's ability to trade following last week's nuclear test.

The sanctions expand those approved by the U.N. Security Council in January.

This means the North Korean government cannot trade in bonds, gold, precious metals, and diamonds, according to EU diplomats.

"We have pushed for enhancing the sanctions.

"This is the answer to a nuclear programme which endangers not only the region but the whole security architecture worldwide," Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said during a meeting with his EU counterparts in Brussels.

The new sanctions ban components that could be used in ballistic missiles such as "certain types of aluminum used in ballistic missile-related systems".

North Korea was widely condemned last week after its third nuclear test since 2006, defying United Nations resolutions and putting the country closer to a workable long-range nuclear missile.

North Korean banks will also barred from opening new branches in the European Union and European banks would not be able to open new branches in the northeast Asian state.

Diplomats could not say if North Korean banks had any branches in the EU.