Pyongyang: North Korea has accused the CIA of plotting to assassinate its leader, Kim Jong-Un.
It comes after the Republican-led US House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to impose new sanctions on North Korea, targeting its shipping industry and use of slave labor.
Members approved the measure 419-1 as tensions continued to mount over Pyongyang’s advancing nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Admiral Harry Harris Jr, the top American military officer in the Pacific, has warned it is a question of when, not if, North Korea successfully builds a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the US.
The Senate must take up the measure next. The bipartisan legislation is aimed at thwarting North Korea’s ambitions by cutting off access to the cash the regime needs to follow through with its plans.
The measure is sponsored by Rep Ed Royce of California, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep Eliot Engel of New York, the committee’s senior Democrat.
The bill bars ships owned by North Korea or by countries that refuse to comply with UN resolutions against it from operating in American waters or docking at US ports.
Goods produced by North Korea’s forced labour would be prohibited from entering the United States, according to the legislation.
Anyone who uses slave labour that North Korea exports to other countries would be subject to sanctions under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the bill states.
At times when the nation is facing unusual or extraordinary threats, the President has wide authority under the law, including the power to block or prohibit transactions involving property located in the US.
Also on Friday, Kim inspected an artillery unit used to bombard South Korea in the last deadly clash between the two countries.
The North Korea ruler visited the ‘Hero Defence Detachment’ on Mu Islet on Friday, telling troops to ‘keep highly alert to break the backbone of the enemy’, the state-backed Korean Central News Agency reported.
Kim also praised the unit’s 2010 shelling of South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island, which killed four including two civilians, as ‘the most delightful battle’.