US Senate panel approves North Korea banking sanctions

November 8, 2017 1:22 am
This undated picture released from ’s official Korean Central Agency (KCNA) on November 4, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (center) visiting the March 16 factory at an undisclosed place. (Photo by AFP)
The Senate Banking Committee has unanimously approved new sanctions against North Korea amid President Donald Trump’s tour of Asia.
The sanctions over Pyongyang’s intercontinental ballistic missile program target all the financial institutions in China and elsewhere that help finance Kim Jong-un’s government.
The “Otto Warmbier Banking Restrictions Involving North Korea (BRINK) Act,” which was approved on Tuesday, also aims to bolster existing sanctions on the country and congressional oversight.
US Sen. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) speaks at a Senate Banking Committee and International Policy hearing on Capital Hill May 18, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)
“The time has come for the US to take the lead to ensure that all nations work together to isolate the Kim regime until it has no choice but to change its dangerous, belligerent behavior,” said Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) in a statement after the vote.
The measure, which was named after a US student who died earlier this year in North Korea, was backed by all 12 Republicans and 11 Democrats on the panel to clear the way for its consideration by the full Senate.
Senator Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican and a cosponsor, said the bipartisan legislation is “designed to exert maximum economic pressure.”
“The bill sends a clear message to the world that the entire US government is committed to the strongest possible sanctions against North Korea,” he noted.
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the Banking panel’s ranking Democrat, said, “On a bipartisan basis, this Committee forged legislation that cuts to the heart of the North Korean regime by targeting the economic resources that Kim Jong-Un needs to stay in power and achieve his nuclear ambitions.”
Trump wrapped up his visit to South Korea Wednesday with a major speech on North Korea. He is due to arrive in China, where he will try to press President Xi Jinping to increase pressure on Pyongyang.
Tensions have been building on the Korean Peninsula following a series of nuclear and missile tests by Pyongyang as well as threats of war and personal insults traded between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
North Korea has been under a raft of United Nations sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear tests and missile launches.
Pyongyang has firmly defended its weapons programs as a deterrent against hostile policies of the US and its regional allies, including South Korea.
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