China criticizes U.S. sanctions against Kim Jong Un

BEIJING, July 7 (UPI) — China voiced its objection to a U.S. Treasury decision to sanction Kim Jong Un as a human rights offender and called the measure a “openly pressurizing” move.

Beijing’s foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Thursday China is opposed to “one country using international law as the basis for placing unilateral sanctions on another country,” South Korean newspaper Kyunghyang Shinmun reported.

Using the issue of human rights to openly pressure another country and creating hostility is a move that China is “consistently opposed” to, Hong said.

On Wednesday for the first time the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control placed Kim among a total of 11 individuals under sanctions.

Kim is responsible for the infliction of “intolerable cruelty and hardship on millions of its own people, including extrajudicial killings, forced labor and torture,” said the Treasury’s Acting Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Adam J. Szubin.

The action is not helpful, according to Hong.

“China has consistently argued that human rights issues should be handled through constructive dialogue and cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual respect,” Hong said, adding China has been duly carrying out its obligations under United Nations Security Council sanctions Resolution 2270, adopted in March.

China and North Korea have been unable to agree on Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear weapons development, but recent diplomatic overtures have shown Beijing is willing to be flexible and pursue other forms of dialogue.

Lee Hee-ok, a political scientist at Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea, said the recent meeting between North Korea’s vice party chairman Ri Su Yong and Chinese President Xi Jinping included talks of a possible Kim Jong Un visit to China, News 1 reported.

North Korea is looking for a way out of isolation in the aftermath of nuclear and missile tests, Lee said.

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