North Korea warns USA sanctions may 'block path to denuclearisation'


These officials included Minister of State Security Jong Kyong Thaek, Director of the OGD (North Korea's censorship department) Choe Ryong Hae, and Director of the PAD (the Propaganda and Agitation Department) Pak Kwang Ho.

North Koreans are marking the seventh anniversary of the death of leader Kim Jong Il with visits to statues and vows of loyalty to his son, Kim Jong Un.

Last week, Washington added three senior North Korean officials to those subject to sanctions over what the United States said were human rights abuses.

Kim Jong Il is believed to have died from a heart attack on December 17, 2011.

As tens of thousands of North Koreans, including current leader Kim Jong Un, paid a visit on Sunday to Kim Jong Il's mausoleum in Pyongyang to commemorate the seventh anniversary of his death, North Korean state media also used the opportunity to take a jab at USA foreign policy.

Little progress has been made on denuclearizing since President Trump met with Kim in June.

The commentary by KCNA was at least partially a response to the latest round of sanctions levied against North Korea by the U.S.

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North Korea's anger comes after Trump administration last week announced fresh sanctions against three senior North Korean officials for human rights abuses.

North Korea is warning that recent U.S. sanctions could take relations with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea back to the bristling tension of previous year and endanger efforts to remove nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency instead ran stories about memorials to Kim Jong Il in Libya, Russia and Serbia.

"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", Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said in a statement on issuing the sanctions.

Despite the latest war of words, a second summit between Mr Trump and Mr Kim is expected to be held next year.

In a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency, the North said Trump had repeatedly expressed his desire to improve relations with Pyongyang, but the US State Department was "bent on bringing the DPRK-US relations back to the status of past year which was marked by exchanges of fire".

There remains "wonderful potential for great economic success" for North Korea, Mr. Trump tweeted, adding that Mr. Kim "sees it better than anyone and will fully take advantage of it for his people".

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