US sanctions North Korean officials over human rights abuses | News | DW | 10.12.2018
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US sanctions North Korean officials over human rights abuses

Washington has imposed sanctions on three men accused of involvement in the death of 22-year-old student Otto Warmbier. The sanctions make it illegal for any US entity to conduct financial transactions with them.

The United States has imposed sanctions on three North Korean officials for their role in human rights abuses and the death of American captive Otto Warmbier.

The US Treasury Department said Monday that Washington had frozen the US assets of the three officials and banned them from entering financial transactions with US companies.

Read more: Meetings could be last for families in divided Korea

"The United States has consistently condemned the North Korean regime for its flagrant and egregious abuses of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and this administration will continue to take action against human rights abusers around the globe," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

One of the officials, Choe Ryong Hae, is a close adviser of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He is believed to be the second highest official in the North Korean military. At a military parade in 2017, he said North Korea would "beat down enemies with the power of nuclear justice."

The other officials are Jong Kyong Thaek, the minister of state security, North Korea's primary counterintelligence agency, and Pak Kwang Ho, the director of North Korea's Propaganda and Agitation Department.

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The Treasury Department did not say how the three men were involved in the death of Warmbier, a 22-year-old student who died in 2017 after he was arrested while visiting the isolated country as a tourist.

The United States has been trying to make progress in talks with North Korea over dismantling its nuclear weapons program. But talks have stalled since Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump pledged to realize a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula at a summit in Singapore in June.

Monday's announcement coincided with the United Nations-backed Human Rights Day.

amp/cmk (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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