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The United States is imposing a new round of sanctions on North Korea. This time it's for human rights abuses. These sanctions target senior officials, including leader Kim Jong Un. The sanctions are part of an ongoing effort by the United States to isolate North Korea's government, as NPR's Jackie Northam reports.
JACKIE NORTHAM, BYLINE: The Obama administration says under leader Kim Jong Un, North Korea inflicts intolerable cruelty and hardship on millions of its own people. That includes extrajudicial killing, forced labor and torture. This is the first time Kim has been directly targeted with sanctions. Also on the list are five government entities and 10 other individuals involved with hunting down North Korean defectors and running labor and political prison camps that hold as many as 120,000 people. The sanctions are meant to financially cripple anyone on the list holding U.S. assets. State Department spokesman John Kirby says they're not just symbolic and could have broader financial implications.
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JOHN KIRBY: When we put somebody on a special designation list like this, it does reverberate around the world. And it can have an impact on the way other countries or other international bodies and financial institutions consider doing business.
NORTHAM: But there's debate how effective sanctions are. The U.S. has been using them for years as a way to get North Korea to stop testing nuclear and missile technology and return to negotiations - without much success. Jackie Northam, NPR News, Washington.
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