North Korea’s official KCNA news agency said Friday that the country’s government was committed to the international effort against money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities. The agency's statement comes two weeks after the U.S. imposed a fresh round of sanctions against Pyongyang in response to the country’s alleged involvement in the massive hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
For nearly a decade, North Korea has been accused of being involved in the trade of illicit drugs and arms, Reuters reported, citing unspecified officials, adding that there are also charges against the country of making money from financial scams that include forging high-quality $100 notes and hiding the money trail. Raids on North Korean entities and ocean-going vessels have exposed contraband like illegal narcotics and fake U.S. dollar notes, but the country has denied any involvement in such criminal activities.
According to the state-run KCNA, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has also sent a letter to an arm of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development vowing its commitment to fight money laundering and terror financing. Earlier this week, North Korea joined the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering as an observer, baffling officials of other countries and experts about its intentions, Reuters reported, adding that the country has yet to obtain the group’s full membership.
North Korea was slapped with additional U.S. sanctions earlier this month, preventing three state agencies and 10 individuals from accessing the U.S. financial system.
Confirming the sanctions on North Korea, President Barack Obama wrote in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner that he had determined that North Korea was behind the cyberattack on Sony Pictures in November, and that the country poses a “continuing threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”
North Korea criticized the new sanctions as “groundless” and accused the U.S. of trying to “stifle the DPRK.”
“The persistent and unilateral action taken by the White House to slap 'sanctions' against the DPRK patently proves that it is still not away from inveterate repugnancy and hostility toward the DPRK,” an unnamed spokesperson for North Korea's foreign ministry told KCNA.