North Korea is again in the news for its deplorable human rights record. And in the last few days of the Obama administration, Pyongyang is lashing out at new sanctions. President Barack Obama, the Koreans say, needs to get busy packing up the White House and leave North Korea alone.
The Obama administration is still in control, and still making bold decisions. They’re imposing additional sanctions on North Korean in what the Korean Central News Agency calls a “last-ditch efforts of those whose days are numbered.”
The sanctions come after The Department of State released a report on North Korean human rights violations last week. The report accuses Kim Jong-un’s regime of “extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detention, forced labor, and torture.”
“Many of these abuses are committed in the country’s political prison camps, which hold an estimated 80,000 -120,000 prisoners, including children and family members of the accused,” the State Department said.
“The systemic and oppressive nature of the North Korean government’s censorship and information denial remains omnipresent.”
Human Rights Watch’s list of most repressive countries was updated earlier this month, and North Korea tops the list.
It is unclear what, if anything, will come from the sanctions. The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has restricted the activities of seven North Korean officials, one of which is Kim Jong-un’s sister. Critics say the sanctions are symbolic, at best, and do little to change behaviors in the country.
In July of 206, Kim Jong-un, 10 senior officials, and five state agencies had their international access to funds curtailed after a similar report of human rights abuses.
“This is nothing but Washington’s last resort to tarnish the image of the DPRK,” KCNA said, denouncing the move.
“Obama would be well advised not to waste time taking issue with others’ ‘human rights issue’ but make good arrangements for packing in the White House.”
The inflammatory talk from the Korean new organization is nothing new. Yet the tone of this attack on Obama makes it sound like the North Koreans are happy that Obama is leaving the White House. Do they know who is moving in?