Shanghai / Washington (CNN) — The European Union and France banned the carriage of all cargoes from any country including North Korea on Tuesday amid the growing missile crisis and mounting tensions.
Following news of the first EU case of a North Korean plane with a suspicious defect last week, an official source within the EU confirmed that an inspection is underway in Brussels.
“Based on the inspection and analysis carried out to date, it is now the opinion of the European aviation safety authorities that there is a heightened risk of missile collision if air cargo from North Korea is transported in certain specific flights, which constitute no fault of the cargo carrier but of the flight itself,” the source told CNN.
The source said that the operations of any of the airlines carrying cargo from North Korea would cease from Tuesday and that any flights carrying cargo from North Korea would be prohibited by the end of the week.
According to the source, Turkey and Greece are being asked to stop shipments of North Korean cargo altogether and none of the planes carrying cargo would be allowed to land at their airports.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 173 people from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) died from the use of unregistered insecticide this year.
The WHO said in its report last Friday that while enforcement of the UN Security Council’s ban on the export of a range of goods to the DPRK had been “flawed” in the past, it showed “clearly that the issue should be raised internationally and at the UN Security Council.”
While reports of North Korean workers or party officials coming to Europe via China has become commonplace, it is the first known example of a commercial flight leaving Pyongyang carrying banned equipment.
It comes after a North Korean plane, a Tupolev-154, arrived at Frankfurt Airport on October 12 with the cargo of tank tiles as well as lab and warehouse equipment, according to the UN’s North Korea sanctions committee.
“There were some suspicious data on some of the landing equipment” which led to the European Commission launching an inspection, the source said.
Adding to fears over the ban on flights by the Pyongyang government into Europe, authorities in the southern island of Guernsey told reporters that a member of the foreign ministry has been arrested for allegedly trying to bring $8,000 worth of undeclared gold into the country via London.
While Guernsey reportedly turned down the appeal on Monday, the source said that there had been discussions with other airports, including Heathrow and Glasgow airports in Scotland, to assess the risks.
Europe remains skeptical about an improved relationship between Trump and the North Korean leader
European Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud said on Monday that EU governments have informed Brussels that there would be no further flights in and out of the North Korean capital between Monday and Friday.
“On Friday October 20, EC will allow for flights to operate but should there be additional incidents, we will review the situation at that point in time,” Bertaud told reporters.
The European Commission added in a statement that all European airlines had been told to declare if they carry shipments of goods and equipment from North Korea.
“This information will then be included in the certificates of carriage, which is required by law under paragraph 177 of the Civil Aviation Act,” it said.
“We will remain in close contact with our partners and monitor the situation closely.”
Germany’s second biggest airline Lufthansa said it will notify the country’s aviation regulator about flights to North Korea, adding that it was informed last week about a similar scare involving a Tupolev-154.
“Lufthansa will inform the German air safety authority BFU (Federal Aviation Agency) and European authorities of any aircraft carrying prohibited supplies, goods or services from North Korea,” the airline said in a statement.