U.S. Government Sanctions Second Member of the Kim Family
January 12, 2017
On January 11, 2017, the U.S. government designated seven individuals and two entities for sanctions under Executive Orders 13687 and 13722, and the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016 (Public Law 114-122). The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added those individuals and entities to its Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) list for ongoing serious human rights abuses and censorship activities. This action was taken in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Human Rights and Labor, which submitted the “Report on Serious Human Rights Abuses or Censorship in North Korea” to Congress in accordance with Section 304 (A) of the North Korea sanctions act.
- This latest designation targets Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong-un’s younger sister, for violations associated with human rights and censorship in North Korea. This follows on Treasury’s previous action to sanction North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un, in July 2016.
- North Korea will likely be upset with this second designation within the Kim family and would likely seek suspension of these measures as quid pro quos in any negotiation.
- The designation of North Korea’s State Planning Commission and Ministry of Labor is significant because it targets North Korea’s use of forced labor within the country and is particularly focused on the use of forced labor in the coal and mining industries. It also targets North Korea’s frequent use of forced labor brigades to complete state economic development and construction projects.
- CSIS Beyond Parallel has previously shown that North Koreans inside the country are quite upset when forced to participate in these labor mobilization projects.
- While the material impact of these sanctions designations remains to be seen, they are a clear indication of the U.S. resolve to pursue accountability for ongoing human rights violations occurring in North Korea.