This undated picture released by
North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 27,
2016 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) inspecting Chollima
building materials complex in Pyongyang. ©AFP
says Washington has “crossed the line” and effectively declared war
against Pyongyang by putting the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, on its
list of sanctions.
Han Song Ryol, the director general of
the US affairs department at North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, said in an
interview published on Thursday that the US’s recent actions constitute
“a declaration of war.”
“The United States has crossed the red
line in our showdown,” he said, adding, “We regard this thrice-cursed
crime as a declaration of war.”
On July 6, the US imposed
unilateral sanctions on the North Korean leader for the first time over
claims that he is responsible for a long list of rights violations.
to a statement by the US Treasury Department, 10 other individuals and
five government ministries and departments were also sanctioned.
has imposed an array of embargoes on North Korea but this was the first
time that the North Korean leader was personally placed under
In March, North Korea was hit by the most crippling
sanctions by the United Nations and the West over its nuclear and
ballistic missile tests.
The country describes its nuclear
capabilities as a deterrent against hostile US policies, accusing
Washington of plotting with its regional allies to topple the government
Song Ryol, director general of the US affairs department at North
Korea’s Foreign Ministry, talks during an interview with The Associated
Press in Pyongyang, North Korea, July 28, 2016. ©APUS, South Korea warned against joint drills
in his remarks, the top North Korean diplomat warned against planned
joint drills by Washington and Seoul, saying a vicious showdown could
erupt if the two allies hold annual war games next month.
United States and South Korea regularly conduct joint military exercises
south of the Korean Demilitarized Zone separating the North from South
“We are all prepared for war, and we are all prepared for
peace,” Han said. “If the United States forces those kinds of
large-scale exercises in August, then the situation caused by that will
be the responsibility of the United States.”
The senior diplomat also dismissed calls for Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program.