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[SEOUL] North Korea said it would take "all necessary countermeasures" if the US 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 US, 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 US 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 US has placed on North Korea since it conducted its fourth nuclear test in January, violating a United Nation's ban on such tests. They add Kim to a group of infamous leaders who've been subjected to such limits - Iraq's Saddam Hussein, Libya's Muammar Qaddafi, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.