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US envoy: Washington is considering sanctions against N. Korean officials

US envoy: Washington is considering sanctions against N. Korean officials

Posted May. 04, 2016 07:33,   

Updated May. 04, 2016 07:41

A U.S. official announced Washington is considering imposing bilateral sanctions against North Korea for human rights infringement. This sounds like the U.S. government is ready to implement the administrative order released by President Barack Obama immediately after the attempts to hack into Sony Pictures in December 2014, or come up with a new order focused on human rights issues.

Robert King, special envoy for North Korean human rights, made such remarks at a seminar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington on Monday local time. Ambassador King said the U.S. is seeking ways to apply sanctions on North Korean government officials involved in the human rights issues including the abduction of foreign nationals.

Mr. King expressed that the recent mass defection of 13 North Koreans working at a restaurant in China shows that Beijing is increasingly frustrated with Pyongyang, urging the international community to put more pressure to China for accepting North Korean defectors as refugees.

An expert in Washington speculated that the subjected individuals would see their assets within the U.S. territory frozen and be banned from entering the borders. Meanwhile, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would be excluded from the sanctions for concerns on chances of triggering further tensions between the two countries.

Such consideration was made amid the continuing provocations by Kim even under the strong sanctions imposed by United Nations Security Council Resolution 2270. “Deportation of diplomats involving in illegal activities, blocking remittance to overseas North Korean workers, boycotting attendance to North Korea related events, are among the list,” said a Washington diplomat.

"It would be ideal to accuse the responsible figures at the International Criminal Court via the UN Security Council, but it is likely to be vetoed by China and Russia," said South Korean human rights ambassador Lee Jung-hoon, who attended the seminar. "A member of the ICC could file a lawsuit against North Korean human rights offenders to the ICC."

워싱턴=이승헌 특파원ddr@donga.com