EU relations with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea)

The EU established diplomatic relations in May 2001 and most EU countries have bilateral diplomatic relations with North Korea. The EU countries' embassies in Pyongyang take it in turns to serve as the EU representative office.

Political dialogue

The EU has annual political talks with North Korea, and the European Parliament has a regular exchange with parliamentarians from there. The EU is committed to a policy of critical engagement with North Korea around:

  • peace and security in the Korean Peninsula
  • non-proliferation of nuclear weapons
  • human rights.


The EU supports international efforts to promote peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, in particular through the Six Party Talks process, set up in 2003 to address international concerns over North Korea's nuclear activities.

Aid and cooperation

Since 1995, over €366m in aid has been provided in the form of food aid, medical, water and sanitation assistance and agricultural support. In 2011 the EU provided €10m in emergency aid following a severe food crisis.

Since the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) in Pyongyang closed in 2008, the EU has adapted its aid to long-term, more structured humanitarian assistance.

Human rights

The EU co-sponsors annual resolutions in the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in North Korea. The European Parliament has adopted several resolutions, the most recent in May 2012.


The EU currently has autonomous measures in place against North Korea to prevent further development of a nuclear weapons programme. Despite being in direct violation of its obligations under relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, North Korea launched a "satellite" using ballistic missile technology in December 2012, followed by a third nuclear test in February 2013. In order to impress the importance of upholding global non-proliferation agreements, the EU has decided to enforce additional autonomous measures [77 KB].