Washington: US President Donald Trump's administration has slapped sanction on three North Korean nationals in response to Pyongyang's ongoing human rights abuses and censorship.
The Treasury Department on Monday marked Human Rights Day by sanctioning the senior officials in previously targeted government entities of the North Korean regime and the Workers' Party of Korea, including the Ministry of State Security and the Ministry of Public Security, reports CNN.
"These sanctions demonstrate the US' ongoing support for freedom of expression, and opposition to endemic censorship and human rights abuses," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
The Treasury said that the fresh sanctions highlight the "reprehensible treatment of those in North Korea" and serve as a reminder of the "brutal treatment" of Otto Warmbier, the US college student after detention in a North Korean jail.
Monday's sanctions come as President Trump is planning a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in 2019, as their first historic summit in June in Singapore, yielded no progress.
Recent satellite images showed North Korea was expanding a key long-range missile base, a reminder that diplomatic talks with the US have done little to prevent Kim from pursuing his promise to mass produce and deploy the existing types of nuclear warheads in his arsenal.