N.Korea condemns new US sanctions

Pyongyang: North Korea on Tuesday called the US’ new sanctions on seven of its high-ranking officials including the younger sister of leader Kim Jong-un, “the last-ditch efforts” to tarnish Pyongyang’s image.

“This is nothing but Washington’s last resort to tarnish North Korea’s image in the light of the present Pyongyang-Washington relations,” said a statement released by the North Korean state agency KCNA.

The new sanctions, which follow those imposed on Kim and another 10 senior regime officials in July 2016, call for prohibiting the entry of North Korean personnel into the US and conducting business with Americans, and the freezing of their assets, Efe news reported.

“This is the last-ditch efforts of those whose days are numbered,” KCNA said.

Pyongyang also advised President Barack Obama “not to waste time” with the affairs of others but should instead devote himself to making “good arrangements for packing in the White House”.

The US Department of the Treasury on January 11 imposed sanctions on seven senior North Korean officials in response to “serious human rights abuses and censorship”.

Among those included on the list is Kim Won-hong, the Minister of State Security, an agency that Washington considers responsible for torture activities in the country’s prison camp network.

Kim Yo-jong, the leader’s sister and deputy director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the North Korean Workers Party, as well as the State Planning Commission and Ministry of Labour, was also sanctioned.