North Korea sends protest to US Congress over sanctions

Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva

A North Korean committee sent a rare letter of protest to the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday over a new package of tougher sanctions.

"The U.S. House of Representatives should think twice", the committee said in the letter.

The foreign affairs committee of the North's Supreme People's Assembly condemned the sanctions as a "heinous act against humanity".

The legislation, which was overwhelmingly passed at the House last week, calls for tough sanctions mainly targeting North Korea's crude imports, labor exports and global shipping.

North Korea on Friday slammed the United States Congress for passing a new law to tighten sanctions against the Pyongyang regime. Pyongyang normally expresses its displeasure with Washington through statements by the Foreign Ministry or other institutions, or through representatives at its United Nations mission in NY.

The Foreign Affairs Committee said these sanctions "run counter to the efforts aimed at ensuring peace and security on the Korean peninsula".

"It is the regime of Kim Jong Un that should rethink its unsafe nuclear weapons tests, ballistic missile tests, abhorrent human rights record, and state support for terrorism". North Korea sent a letter to 192 UN Members urging to "reconsider any of their implementation activities until the legality of those "sanctions resolutions" are to be clarified".

North Korea warned in the letter that if the US enacts more sanctions, it will strengthen its nuclear energy at "greater pace, beyond anyone's imagination".

When asked if North Korea was also preparing to talk with the new government in South Korea, of liberal President Moon Jae-in, Choe said: "We'll see". Pyongyang sent letters to the United States in 1984 calling for the opening of three-way talks between Pyongyang, Seoul and Washington.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has revived the committee that penned the letter in recent years.

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North Korea has flexed its military muscles lately despite warnings from the USA and South Korea. This year's wargames were the biggest ever, and reportedly included training for precision strikes and assaults meant to take out Kim Jong Un and his top lieutenants. Western analysts claim this is an attempt by the Kim Jong-un government to improve relations with other countries - South Korea and the U.S.in particular - amid its deepening isolation. The talks, which are held intermittently, are an informal opportunity for the two sides to exchange opinions and concerns.

In the letter to 192 United Nations members and two observer states - dated Thursday - North Korea urged them to "reconsider any of their implementation activities until the legality of those "sanctions resolutions" are to be clarified".

The U.S. legislation was meant to cut off supplies of cash that help fund North Korea's nuclear program, and increase pressure to stop human rights abuses such as the use of slave labor, the bill's sponsor said.

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