US slaps sanctions against North Korean officials and entities over human rights abuses
The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on seven officials and three entities of North Korea over what Washington described as Pyongyang’s “ongoing and serious human rights abuses.”
“Today’s sanctions target the North Korean military and regime officials engaged in flagrant abuses of human rights,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
The Treasury Department is also targeting North Korean financial facilitators who attempt to keep the leadership in Pyongyang afloat with foreign currency earned through forced labour operations.
The sanctions, which freeze assets within US jurisdiction and prohibit transactions involving US citizens, are the latest in a series of measures the United States has taken to pressure North Korea into ridding itself of nuclear weapons.
Among those subject to the latest sanctions are Jo Kyong-chol, director of the Military Security Command, Ri Thae-chol, first vice-minister of people’s security, and Labour Minister Jong Yong-su, as well as the consul general in Shenyang, China, and a diplomat at the North Korean embassy in Vietnam, according to the Treasury.
Mnuchin said the United States is particularly concerned with North Korea’s military, which operates as a secret police force in “punishing all forms of dissent.”
“Further, the military operates outside of North Korea to hunt down asylum seekers, and brutally detains and forcibly returns North Korean citizens,” he said.