North Korea protests U.S. sanctions in rare letter to Congress

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In a rare move, North Korea’s parliament protested new U.S. sanctions by sending a letter on Friday to the U.S. House of Representatives, calling the sanctions a “heinous act against humanity,” according to a report from North’s Korean Central News Agency.

Pyongyang has been known to condemn Washington’s actions, but directly protesting sanctions through the mail is not the method of communication the communist dictatorship usually takes.

The sanctions package bill, which targets North Korea’s shipping industry and use of slave labor, was overwhelmingly approved by the House on May 4. Only one member voted against the measure: Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky.

In addition to imposing stricter sanctions on North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, the bill will also require the Trump administration to report to Congress within 90 days on the decision to possibly reinstate North Korea on the government’s state sponsors of terror list. Should they decide to do so, even more sanctions would go into effect, including stopping U.S. foreign assistance.

According to Adm. Harry Harris Jr. Pyongyang will eventually become successful in its ongoing attempts to build a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the U.S. However, they’ll need more funding, so another focus of the bipartisan bill is to cut off the country’s access to cash.

Soon to be voted on by the Senate, the legislation will stop North Korean ships from operating in American waters or docking at U.S. ports. Countries that refuse to comply with U.N. resolutions against North Korea will also be affected, and any goods produced by North Korea’s forced labor would not be allowed to enter the United States.

It was not immediately clear how the protest was conveyed – if the letter was sent by mail or how it was addressed – since North Korea and the United States have no diplomatic relations and virtually no official channels of communication.

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