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N. Korea blasts U.S. over human trafficking blacklisting

All Headlines 09:37 December 10, 2018

SEOUL, Dec. 10 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean propaganda outlet criticized the United States for blacklisting the communist nation as one of the worst human trafficking countries Monday, calling it a "hostile" act aimed at putting more pressure on Pyongyang.

Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump blacklisted North Korea, along with China, Eritrea, Syria and others, as a country failing to meet the minimum standards under its Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

The blacklisting entails a ban on providing assistance to North Korea in Fiscal Year 2019, though the move is only symbolic given that there is no current U.S. funding for the reclusive country.

Earlier, the U.S. State Department designated North Korea as one of the worst human trafficking nations for the 16th consecutive year.

"This represents an intolerable political provocation to our highly-dignified country," Uriminzokkiri, one of the North's external propaganda outlets, said in a commentary.

"And it is also an extremely atrocious hostile act that runs counter to the summit meeting in Singapore between North Korea and the U.S.," it added, referring to the summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in June.

It said that the U.S. will not be able to avoid rebuke and condemnation for its hypocritical action of promising to put an end to a history of conformation and hostility but sticking to intensify sanctions and pressure on its regime.

It called on the U.S. to end such hostile behavior immediately bearing in mind that taking issue with human rights conditions in the North would end up hurting itself.

The harangues come on the World Human Rights Day. The Rodong Sinmun, the organ of the North's ruling party, and other state media did not publish stories criticizing the U.S. with regard to the human rights issue.

Observers see the relatively subdued stance by the North's media as apparently reflecting their caution not to derail behind-the-scenes efforts to revive stalemated denuclearization talks with Washington.

North Korea has long been accused of gross human rights violations, but Pyongyang has dismissed it as a U.S.-led attempt to topple its regime.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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