The US has placed sanctions on North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, accusing him of inflicting “intolerable cruelty” on his own people.
It is the first time Kim Jong-Un has been personally blacklisted by the US, which said he is behind widespread human rights abuses which have put North Korea “among the world’s most repressive countries”.
Political prison camps across the reclusive state are estimated to hold between 80,000 and 120,000 detainees, including children.
“Under Kim Jong-Un, North Korea continues to inflict intolerable cruelty and hardship on millions of its own people, including extrajudicial killings, forced labour and torture,” the US Treasury said in a statement.
It added that the move demonstrates the US’s “determination” to end human rights abuses in the reclusive country.
The sanctions imposed on Kim Jong-Un place a freeze any properties he may own in the US and prevents him from doing business with US citizens.
But US State Department spokesperson John Kirby conceded that the blacklisting may not have much of an effect on the North Korean leader.
Mr Kirby said: “Whether it’ll have a dramatic impact on Kim Jong-Un and his decisions, I can’t say.
“This is clearly a leader who has resisted many international efforts to curb his provocative behaviour and to get him to make the kinds of responsible decisions that he should be making on behalf of his people.
“But that doesn’t mean that this still isn’t the right thing to do and it doesn’t mean that it’s still not the right thing for us to continue to pursue.”