North says new sanctions tantamount to war

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North says new sanctions tantamount to war

Pyongyang said Thursday that U.S. sanctions on leader Kim Jong-un and other officials for human rights abuses are tantamount to declaring war.

The country’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency saying the announcement of sanctions on Kim and 10 other officials was “peppered with lies and fabrications” and demanding the sanctions be withdrawn.

North Korea has already been sanctioned heavily because of its nuclear weapons program. However, Wednesday’s action by the Obama administration was the first time Kim has been personally targeted, and the first time that any North Korean official has been blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury in connection with reports of rights abuses.

The North Korean statement called the sanctions a “hideous crime.” It demanded that the sanctions be retracted or else “every lever and channel for diplomatic contact between the DPRK and the U.S. will be cut off at once.”

The statement used the initials of the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

On Wednesday, the State Department also released a report, mandated by Congress, on human rights abuses in North Korea. Administration officials said it was intended to name and shame responsible officials in North Korea’s government and send a message to lower level officials.

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