Pyongyang fumes at Seoul’s unilateral sanctions

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Pyongyang fumes at Seoul’s unilateral sanctions

North Korea slammed the Park Geun-hye government a day after it imposed financial sanctions on seven foreign businessmen and entities for engaging in the arms trade with the Communist country, claiming Seoul was seeking “confrontation.”

In a dispatch carried by the Korean Central News Agency Sunday, the Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK) criticized Seoul’s sanctions.

On Friday, Seoul targeted three Taiwanese individuals, three Taiwanese companies and a state-run Syrian missile development institute for trading arms with the nuclear-armed state.

This was the first time Seoul imposed financial restrictions separate from United Nations Security Council sanctions on third-country individuals or groups not from North Korea

In its statement, the CPRK called the confrontational posture by the Park government a “treacherous crime driving North-South relations into the uncontrollable worst phase.”

It went on to say Pyongyang will “never pardon the provocative moves of the Park group, deliberately foiling inter-Korean relations and inciting a war fever in order to attain its despicable political purpose,” adding that those who provoke the North will “face merciless punishment and miserable ruin.”

The United States, Japan and Australia are among countries that impose financial sanctions on individuals and entities that deal in the arms trade with North Korea and assist its nuclear program in addition to the UN Security Council sanctions.

In a separate dispatch, the Communist neighbor also condemned the opening of a UN office for the high commissioner on human rights last week in Seoul, calling it part of a smear campaign against its regime that will lead to war on the peninsula.

“The end point over anti-North activities on the human rights issue will be a war,” said the state-run Rodong Sinmun on Sunday.

The UN office opened last Tuesday to address dire human rights violations in the North.

“As the UN office on North Korea’s human rights issue has opened in Seoul, inter-Korean relations have entered the worst phase,” warned the North.

The launch of the UN office in Seoul came amid growing international attention to the Communist state’s blatant human rights abuses, most notably political prison camps where up to 200,000 people are estimated to suffer in intolerable conditions.

The North has bristled at any mention of its human rights, blaming a United States-led smear campaign against Pyongyang. It calls former inmates who escaped prison camps and gave testimony about their horrors “human scum.”

BY KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]

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