The move marked the first time Washington sanctioned Kim Jong Un personally. Administration officials said Kim was “ultimately responsible” for what they called “North Korea’s notorious abuses of human rights.”
“Under Kim Jong Un, North Korea continues to inflict intolerable cruelty and hardship on millions of its own people, including extrajudicial killings, forced labor, and torture,” Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Adam J. Szubin said in a statement announcing the new action.
“As a result of today’s actions, any property or interest in property of those designated by (Office of Foreign Assets Control) within U.S. jurisdiction is frozen,” the Treasury Department said. “Additionally, transactions by U.S. persons involving the designated persons are generally prohibited.”
A lot of international financial institutions similarly avoid those designated on these types of sanctions list so they can do business with U.S. institutions.
North Korea on Thursday lashed out at the move, calling it an “open declaration of war against DPRK” and “the worst crime that can never be pardoned,” according to state news agency KCNA.
While North Korea urged the United States to retract the sanctions, it also said that it will handle all issues “arising in the relations with the U.S.” under wartime law, KCNA reported, quoting North Korea’s Foreign Ministry.
The sanctions also extend to five North Korean state entities, including the Ministry of People’s Security, which the report says oversees labor camps and other detention facilities, where torture, execution, rape, starvation and forced labor takes place. Choe Pu Il, the minister of People’s Security, was also named to the list, along with several top officials in the agency.