Pyongyang: A research institute under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of North Korea on Sunday criticised the US for imposing sanctions against North Korean officials.
A statement, condemning the US move, was issued by the policy research director of the Institute for American Studies of the Foreign Ministry, and released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) without naming the director, Xinhua reported.
The statement said the top leaders of North Korea and the US committed themselves to improving North Korea-US relations at the historic North Korea-US summit held in Singapore in June, and currently the bilateral relations are advancing along the firm will of the two leaders to follow through their joint statement issued then.
However, it added, over the past six months, the US State Department and the Treasury Department have carried out eight rounds of sanctions against North Korean companies, individuals and ships as well as other third countries through false pretexts.
“Recently, the US is resorting to an anti-North Korean human rights plot in such a way that it carries a deliberate provocation by adding high-ranking government officials of North Korea to its unilateral sanctions list, while taking issue with a non-existent “human rights issue”, the statement said.
Washington announced on December 10 that it would impose sanctions against three North Korean officials for serious human rights abuses and censorship, and North Korea’s statement on Sunday seems to be a semi-official response to the US decision.
“Far from the statements of the (US) president, the State Department is instead bent on bringing North Korea-US relations back to the status of last year which was marked by exchanges of fire. I cannot help but throw doubt on the ulterior motive of the State Department,” KCNA quoted the director as saying, adding that the sanctions against North Korea “would not work”.