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The Treasury Department on Thursday issued sanctions on seven individuals and three entities connected to North Korea after a new State Department report on human rights abuses by Kim Jon Un's regime.
The sanctions freeze any property or interest in property within U.S. jurisdiction and generally prohibit any transactions by U.S. citizens with any of the sanctioned individuals or groups. Among the sanctioned entities are the government of North Korea and the Workers' Party of Korea.
"North Korea is run by a brutal regime that continues to engage in serious human rights abuses. We are especially concerned with the North Korean military, which operates as secret police, 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," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.
"Today's sanctions target the North Korean military and regime officials engaged in flagrant abuses of human rights. We also are targeting North Korean financial facilitators who attempt to keep the regime afloat with foreign currency earned through forced labor operations."
The newly sanctioned parties include North Korean diplomats, military security officers and officials with state-owned construction companies.
According to the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, the DPRK's Military Security Command and two of its top officials, Jo Kyong-Chol and Sin Yong Il, will be put under sanction, as will Ri Thae Chol, the country's first vice minister of the Ministry of People's Security.
The diplomats being sanctioned are Ku Sung Sop — the consul general in Shenyang, China — and Kim Min Chol, who works at the North Korean Embassy in Vietnam.
The other targeted parties are connected to a system of North Korean construction companies that export labor overseas, often to work in slave-like conditions, the U.S. said. The country's External Construction Bureau and its director, Kim Kang Jin, will be sanctioned, as will the Ch'olhyo'n Overseas Construction Company.
In September, the Treasury Department announced sanctions in against eight North Korean banks and 26 people linked to the country's financial networks. The actions come as the U.S. presses the communist dictatorship to end its nuclear weapons testing and missile launchings.