March 27 (UPI) -- Eight countries including China, North Korea and Russia are demanding the easing of sanctions in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Russian press report.
Tass news agency reported Thursday a group that includes Iran, Syria, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela are petitioning United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for sanctions relief that could impact North Korea and other nations.
The Russian mission to the United Nations publicly disclosed the joint petition on Twitter.
"We respectfully urge you to request the complete and immediate lifting of such illegal, coercive and arbitrary measures of economic pressure -- in line with the longstanding and principled position of the United Nations to reject unilateral coercive measures, in order to ensure the full, effective and efficient response of all members of the international community to the coronavirus and to also reject the politicization of such a pandemic."
The report of the letter comes after Guterres had said countries currently subject to sanctions must have access to medical supplies and food. Guterres made the argument in a letter to leaders of the G20 member states.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said Tuesday sanctions against countries like North Korea and Iran need to be lifted in order to protect the rights and lives of the people.
Hindering medical efforts in any one country presents a crisis for all, Bachelet had said.
The United States is showing little interest in easing North Korean sanctions however.
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued a financial advisory.
"Financial institutions must comply with the extensive U.S. restrictions and prohibitions against opening or maintaining any correspondent accounts, directly or indirectly, for North Korean or Iranian financial institutions," the advisory read.
North Korea has condemned U.S. and other international sanctions.
On Friday, Korean Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported construction is entering a "third phase" at Samjiyon, near Mount Paektu.
North Korea marks the 75th anniversary of the Workers' Party in October.