Wong Maye-E, AP
In this May 10, 2016, photo, North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un watches a parade from a balcony at the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang. The U.S. imposed sanctions Wednesday, July 6, 2016, on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and 10 other top officials for human rights abuses in an escalation of Washington's effort to isolate the authoritarian government.

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said it would take “all necessary countermeasures” if the U.S. doesn’t retract sanctions imposed on its leader.

Pyongyang said the financial sanctions on Kim Jong Un amounted to an “open declaration of war” by the U.S., and threatened to cut off all diplomatic communications if they weren’t lifted, the country’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement released by the official Korean Central News Agency. The ministry said the sanctions “challenge the dignity” of its leader and amounted to the “worst hostility” against the country.

The U.S. Treasury Department for the first time on Thursday imposed sanctions on Kim, targeting him and other top officials for widespread human rights abuses. The sanctions make it harder for banks or other financial institutions worldwide to hold or move assets owned by those on the list.

The sanctions against Kim are the latest among a number of restrictions the U.S. has placed on North Korea since it conducted its fourth nuclear test in January, violating a United Nations ban on such tests. They add Kim to a group of infamous leaders who have been subjected to such limits — Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.


(With assistance from Nick Wadhams.)


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