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North Korea: US sanctions a 'declaration of war'

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Pyongyang has condemned the USA human rights sanctions on the regime, which even put North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on the blacklist.

OFAC's announcement Wednesday coincides with the release of a State Department "Report on Serious Human Rights Abuses or Censorship in North Korea".

The U.S. rejected the demand, saying it will continue to work with the global community to sustain worldwide attention on the North's "deplorable" human rights situation and to press for Pyongyang to cease such violations.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury added Kim, along with 10 other North Korean individuals and five entities, to the U.S. sanctions list today.

"This is the worst hostility and an open declaration of war against (North Korea) as it has gone far beyond the confrontation over the human rights issue".

They admitted the sanctions would be partly symbolic but said it was important to name mid-level government officials to show there could be consequences for their actions. The move is expected to elicit an angry reaction from the nuclear-armed country and comes just days after the USA ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, called on countries to enforce sanctions against the Hermit Kingdom after its latest ballistic missile test.

State Department spokesman John Kirby admitted the sanctions were unlikely to deter Kim.

The Korean news agency used the phrase again in mid-February when South Korea pulled out of the Kaesong industrial plant run jointly by the North and South to protest a North Korean missile launch.

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There are precedents for the USA putting heads of state on the Treasury blacklist.

These sanctions come after a years long look into human rights issues in North Korea.

These new sanctions appear to be the next step from United States' recent attempt since North Korea was last sanctioned by the USA earlier this year, as those countries who once did business with what is often referred to as the "hermit kingdom" were under threat of being penalized by the US for doing so.

In North Korea, the Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un, is the subject of state-mandated adulation and considered infallible.

The US State Department responded to the harsh comments from North Korea by calling on Pyongyang to refrain from moves that promote the escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Almost 80,000 to 120,000 people are being treated to third-degree torture in Jong Un's prison camps.

"Additionally, transactions by USA persons involving the designated persons are generally prohibited", the Treasury Department said. OFAC says any property or other assets held within USA jurisdiction by those named on the list are frozen.

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