Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has been blacklisted by the United States. File Photo by KCNA
WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Kim Jong Un's powerful younger sister was blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury Department this week because of her key role in North Korea human rights abuses.
Kim Yo Jong, whose birthdate is Sept. 26, 1989, according to the Treasury, is "part of the agency in North Korea who's responsible for propaganda, for censorship, controlling information so that the people of the country do not know about the rest of the world," said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski, Yonhap reported.
Malinowski added Kim reinforces the regime's "system of deifying of, worshiping the family, the leadership."
"All of these are critical parts of the North Korean regime's efforts to control its population and to deny them human rights," Malinowksi told Yonhap. "This list is another sign of the commitment of the United States to identify the individuals, the people, by name in the North Korean government who are responsible for the worst human rights abuses that happen in that country and to hold them accountable."
The younger Kim is reportedly the vice director of the propaganda department of the Korean Workers' Party.
She was one of seven North Korean nationals, and two North Korean entities, blacklisted by the Treasury this week.
The sanctions are necessary, according to John Smith, acting director for the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, because the "North Korean regime not only engages in severe human rights abuses, but it also implements rigid censorship policies and conceals its inhumane and oppressive behavior," Kyodo News reported.
Malinowski said the message is not specifically targeting the North Korean leadership but serves as a broader warning to North Koreans who may be associated with rights abuses.
The younger Kim has often been seen on North Korean television, including at the Seventh Party Congress, accompanying her brother in state ceremonies.
A former North Korea diplomat has said Kim directs all major public events on behalf of her brother.