North Korea to Obama: Focus on moving, not human rights record

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Story highlights

  • North Korea rips new US sanctions
  • Additional sanctions approved following State Dept report on country's abuses

(CNN)North Korea has said President Barack Obama should concentrate on packing rather than focusing on the reclusive nation's human rights record.

State-owned North Korean press agency KCNA slammed additional sanctions filed by the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), calling the move a "hostile policy" and the "last-ditch efforts" of an administration "whose days are numbered."
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It said the sanctions were being enacted alongside the State Department's "Report on Serious Human Rights Abuses or Censorship in North Korea," released in 2016.
    In a typically verbose opinion piece, KCNA said, "The US is not qualified to talk about somebody's 'human rights' as it is the world's worst human rights abuser and a tundra of human rights.
    "Obama would be well advised not to waste time taking issue with others' 'human rights issue(s)' but make good arrangements for packing in the White House.
    "He had better repent of the pain and misfortune he has brought to so many Americans and other people of the world by creating the worst human rights situation in the US during his tenure of office."
    The Obama administration could not immediately be reached for comment.
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    Documented abuse

    The State Department report is one of several recent institutional investigations documenting North Korea's human rights record.
    In November, the Washington-based Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) released satellite images that show the reclusive nation's prison camp system, where detainees are subjected to forced labor, torture, starvation, rape and death, may be expanding. The images are of Camp No. 25, a camp near Chongjin, on North Korea's northeast coast.
    Up to 120,000 men, women and children are imprisoned in the gulags, known as "kwanliso" in Korean, according to the United Nations.
    A 2014 report from the international organization estimated that "hundreds of thousands of political prisoners" have died in the North Korean gulags over the past 50 years amid "unspeakable atrocities."
    "The inmate population has been gradually eliminated through deliberate starvation, forced labor, executions, torture, rape and the denial of reproductive rights," the report said, drawing a parallel between the camps and those of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
    "These camps constitute the cornerstone of the country's large infrastructure dedicated to political repression and social control that enables widespread and systematic human rights abuses," rights group Amnesty International said in a statement.