SHOTS FIRED

North Korea Warns Sanctions Could ‘Block Denuclearization Forever’

North Korea has warned that new U.S. sanctions on three of its top officials could “block the path to denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula forever” and result in “exchanges of fire.” Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed fresh sanctions on the three—including Kim Jong Un’s right hand-man Choe Ryong Hae—over human-rights abuses, censorship, and the death of American tourist Otto Warmbier. The statement, issued Sunday by North Korea’s ministry of foreign affairs, praised President Trump, saying he “avails himself of every possible occasion to state his willingness to improve DPRK-U.S. relations.” But it accused the State Department of being “bent on bringing the DPRK-U.S. relations back to the status of last year, which was marked by exchanges of fire.” The statement warned that, if Washington believes sanctions will force the country to give up its nuclear weapons, “it will count as greatest miscalculation, and it will block the path to denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula forever—a result desired by no one.”