North Korea’s incoming new ambassador to Italy will be expelled from the country in protest against Pyongyang’s repeated nuclear missile tests, Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said in an interview to the daily La Repubblica on Sunday. However, Italy will continue to maintain diplomatic ties with North Korea, which, Alfano said, was “useful to maintain a channel of communication”, Reuters reported.

“We have taken the firm decision to interrupt the accreditation procedure,” the minister said, according to AFP. “We want to make Pyongyang understand that isolation is inevitable if it does not change course.”

In July, North Korea had nominated Mun Jong-Nam, a long-serving official in the Foreign Ministry, its new envoy to Italy in July. He had started working in Rome but has not completed his registration with the Italian authorities yet.

Italy’s decision is another in a series of international measures being taken against North Korea in a bid to push the isolated nation to give up its nuclear weapons programme – China has limit its oil exports to the country; the United Nations imposed fresh, stricter sanctions restricting exports from North Korea; and the United States has repeatedly warned of action against the country.