US imposes sanctions on 3 N. Korean officials

Kim Jong-Un on September 22 2017 responds to Donald Trump calling him 'mentally deranged'

Kim Jong-Un on September 22 2017 responds to Donald Trump calling him 'mentally deranged'

Choe, arguably the most important of the three, has had some tumultuous experiences-being promoted and demoted to various senior military and political posts, and reportedly detained on at least one occasion-but appeared to come out on top earlier this year when given the prestigious position of overseeing the Organization and Guidance Department, a government body tasked with enforcing the ruling Korean Workers' Party's dogmatic policies.

The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on three North Korean officials as it called the regime's human rights record among the world's worst, in an abrupt shift from President Donald Trump's efforts to woo the regime.

The penalties against the officials are part of the Trump administration's "efforts to highlight North Korea's abysmal human rights record, and to speak out for those who can not speak for themselves".

Choe Ryong Hae, the Director of the Workers' Party of Korea, Jong Kyong Thaek, the North Korean Minister of State Security and Pak Kwang Ho, the director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department for the Worker's Party have all been added to the sanctions list.

According to a State Department report submitted to Congress, Jong directs censorship as well as human rights violations by the ministry, which is the regime's chief counterintelligence agency.

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The action was taken under an executive order aimed at punishing Pyongyang for conducting cyber attacks and abusing human rights, a statement on the Treasury's website showed.

The Treasury Department said the sanctions "shine a spotlight" on the North's treatment of people inside the regime, .as it will "serve as a reminder of North Korea's brutal treatment of US citizen Otto Warmbier".

But its submission on Monday - International Human Rights Day - was the first since October 2017 as Trump championed diplomacy with North Korea that focused squarely on its nuclear program.

The sanctioned officials include Choe Ryong Hae, who has been considered a right-hand man to leader Kim Jong Un.

The sanctioned officials are banned from the USA financial system.

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