North Korea marks 7th anniversary of Kim Jong Il's death

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

The US state department justified its vow to seize the three officials' US assets by accusing the regime of human rights abuses that were "among the worst in the world".

The death of Kim Jong-il on December 17, 2011, thrust Kim Jong-un - then in his late-20s and a virtually unknown figure outside North Korea - into power.

In a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency, the North praised Trump for his "willingness" to improve relations with Pyongyang, but said the U.S. treasury's decision to impose sanctions on three officials over alleged human rights abuses could "block the path to denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula forever".

In a statement carried on the official state media, North Korea's foreign ministry denounced new U.S. sanctions, including the listing of one of Kim Jong-un's right-hand men.

But Trump also expressed optimism, saying North Korea's economy has "wonderful potential" and that its leader Kim Jong Un "sees it better than anyone and will fully take advantage of it for his people".

But North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency ran a lengthy commentary late Sunday that slammed the United States for "slander" and "sheer malice" against the country, and for dragging its feet on efforts to improve relations after Kim's summit with President Donald Trump in Singapore in June.

Canada 'deeply concerned' after China detains former diplomat
US authorities allege that Meng committed fraud when she told an HSBC executive that Huawei and SkyCom were two separate entities. According to the Post, lawyers proposed an extensive security plan that Meng was willing to pay for if she were released on bail.

But little progress has been made since then, with Washington pushing to maintain sanctions against the North until its "final, fully verified denuclearisation" and Pyongyang condemning U.S. demands as "gangster-like".

North Korea has broadcasted warning messages at the NLL, and has not shut the blast doors that protect the regime's artillery, Shin said, adding the North could be using tensions at the border for "future negotiations". Administration officials have said for months that they are pushing for a second Trump-Kim summit, although Mr. Trump suggested Friday that momentum for the summit is lacking.

The president also said: "We are doing just fine!"

Sunday's statement from Pyongyang similarly steered clear of directly criticizing Mr. Trump.

While crediting Trump for his "willingness" to improve relations with the North, also known as DPRK, Pyongyang accused the U.S. State Department of being "bent on bringing the DPRK-U.S. relations back to the status of previous year which was marked by exchanges of fire". The line was created to give South Korea reaction time in the event of a North Korea provocation.

"DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea]-US relations are advancing along the steadfast will of the top leaders", says the statement, attributed to an official of the country's foreign ministry.

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