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Hamish Macdonald is an NK News contributor and has previously worked at The Korea Herald and for the Australia Centre for Independent Journalism in Sydney.
The U.S. Department of Treasury has released a new list of designations against North Korean entities and individuals on Wednesday, which include Kim Yo Jong, sister of the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un.
Kim was identified as Vice Director of the Workers’ Party of Korea Propaganda and Agitation Department (PAD), an entity previously designated by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in March. In total seven individuals and two entities were listed on Wednesday.
“Treasury is taking this action in conjunction with the State Department’s Report on Serious Human Rights Abuses or Censorship in North Korea,” a press release issued by the treasury on Wednesday read.
“The North Korean regime not only engages in severe human rights abuses, but it also implements rigid censorship policies and conceals its inhumane and oppressive behavior,” John E. Smith, Acting OFAC Director, was quoted as saying.
In a Department of State Report published in February the PAD was identified as controlling all media in the country, “which the government uses to control the public.”
The report was required to be written and presented to congress by the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016 passed early last year.
Among other aspects, the act required the president to designate persons and entities that are identified in the report to have knowingly engaged in human rights violations or censorship in North Korea.
Kim Yo Jong now joins her brother Kim Jong Un on the list of designated individuals after he was listed in sanctions by OFAC in June, 2016 for his involvement in for what an accompanying press release called “North Korea’s notorious abuses of human rights”.
Choe Hwi was also identified as a Vice Director of PAD and included in the sanctions list alongside Kim.
Jo Yong Won and Min Byong Chol were designated for their roles in the country’s Organization and Guidance Department, a previously sanctioned agency. The press release said that Min was also known as the Angel of Death “for his record of political inspections and purges”.
Kang P’il Hun was designated for his role as a Director of the General Political Bureau of the Ministry of People’s Security, which is also an entity previously sanctioned for its role in human rights violations in North Korea.
Kim Il Nam and Kim Won Hong were sanctioned for their roles in the Ministry of State Security, again a previously sanctioned agency. Kim Jong Un is head of both the Ministry of State Security and Ministry of People’s Security.
North Korea’s Ministry of Labor and its State Planning Commission were the two entities subject to the new designations.
“The Ministry of Labor forcibly allocates individuals to specific sectors, including the mining sector, in accordance with the State Planning Commission’s labor allocation plans,” the OFAC press release read.
Featured image: KCNA