New EU sanctions
Earlier, Chancellor Angela Merkel had reiterated her continued support for a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
The European Union reached an agreement in principle on Thursday (21 September). The goal is in particular "a total ban on investment, an oil embargo and additional travel bans on North Korean officials and the freezing of assets," reported federal government spokesperson Steffen Seibert on Friday at the government press conference in Berlin.
Continued breaches of international law
Each North Korean missile and nuclear weapons test is in breach of international law, continued Steffen Seibert. The latest decision on sanctions once again demonstrates "that the EU is standing resolutely together to confront these continued breaches of international law on the part of the North Korean regime".
He expressed the hope that this will make it clear to the North Korean leadership "that they will be the ones to suffer most as a result of these continued breaches of international law".
Monstrous threat of hydrogen bomb
At the same time the government spokesperson rejected North Korea’s latest threat to explode a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific. The international community "agreed with good reason back in the 1960s not to test any more unclear weapons in the atmosphere".
If North Korea were to break this agreement "that would be a new and monstrous escalation of its already irresponsible actions". The German government calls on North Korea to end all provocations immediately.
Clear disagreement with Donald Trump
On Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised the most recent threats to North Korea issued by President Donald Trump. She stressed that she considers any sort of military solution to the North Korea crisis "to be absolutely inappropriate" and reiterated that she places her faith in diplomatic efforts. There is "clear disagreement with Donald Trump" on this point said Angela Merkel.
In an interview with the "Deutsche Welle" on Wednesday (20 September) she spoke about North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests. In the face of these provocations, said the Chancellor, "In my opinion, sanctions and enforcing these sanctions are the right answer." We must push ahead vigorously with these. "I think anything else is wrong," said Angela Merkel.
In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday (19 September), President Donald Trump threatened that the USA might have no choice but to "totally destroy" North Korea to defend itself or its allies, given the nuclear threats made by North Korea.
During the same speech he called into question the agreement reached in 2015 with Iran on the country’s nuclear programme.
Germany willing to mediate
As the Chancellor continued, Germany is ready and willing to accept responsibility and mediate in the North Korean crisis. Even if this conflict is far away from Germany, it is one that also affects us, she said. Angela Merkel recalled the agreement concluded by the permanent members of the UN Security Council, Germany and the European Union with Iran in 2015. "But in the end, it did limit Iran's possibilities for nuclear armament".
No states should be allowed to copy North Korea
In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday (21 September) Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel also stressed that "the international community will not accept the provocations of North Korea".
No states should be allowed to copy North Korea. If the international community stands by helplessly and watches states acquire nuclear weapons "other political leaders will follow this example". That is why North Korea’s nuclear arms programme is a global challenge, which the international community must master together.
Agreement with Iran should not be called into question
That is why it is now "more important than ever before" not to call into question existing agreements on arms control and disarmament. This applies quite particularly to the existing agreement with Iran on the country’s nuclear programme, said Sigmar Gabriel. Respecting this agreement is a question of the "credibility of the international community".