North Korea has not been shy about threatening the United States. Tensions began to flare around the beginning of summer when the rogue nation started to test launch ballistic missiles while threatening anyone who stood in their way.
The US Congress now has an answer for North Korea after all of the threats and missile launches. According to Reuters, both Democrat and Republican Senators have agreed to impose a new set of sanctions on the dictator-run North Korea. The Senate Banking Committee agreed to the terms and said that they will follow through on legislation next week. At the same time, President Trump is making a trip to Asia, his first since becoming President.
There were multiple measures passed and sent to the President. One of the most important ones is called the “Otto Warmbier Banking Restrictions Involving North Korea Act of 2017.”
The act is named after Otto Warmbrier, a US student who died in North Korea following imprisonment. The death was regarded as an unforgivable act by North Korea.
This new act helps expand and increase the power of existing sanctions put in place by Congress. It also helps boost oversight by Congress to make sure that the sanctions are being properly enforced.
Furthermore, it also places sanctions on foreign financial institutions, like the Chinese banks that are providing banking services to North Korea. It also has a binding effect on President Trump and future US presidents.
The bill makes it so that President Trump needs to inform congressional committees if there is any intent to suspend or otherwise affect a non-enforcement of the sanctions. This allows Congress to act accordingly in response to the President.
It also requires the President to submit reports on the system for licensing transactions as well as regular briefings for Congress. The goal is to ensure that North Korea isn’t able to cut an outside deal–say with a progressive administration like former-President Barack Obama’s–to lift the sanctions.
North Korea has executed its sixth nuclear detonation, which is cause for concern for leaders in the US as well as those close to North Korea. Japan and South Korea have explicitly expressed concern over the hostile actions of their neighbor.
Their missile launches have also increased in intensity and power. On numerous occasions, Kim Jong-un has threatened to attack the US mainland as well as the US territory of Guam.
Congress and President Trump have both called on China to do their part, requesting that they cut off financial and business dealing with North Korea. China is North Korea’s biggest trading partner, both import and export. If they were cut off from China, they would be rendered virtually helpless.
Congress placed new sanctions on North Korea. Was this the right move?
The new sanctions bill was agreed upon by multiple people including Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), who is the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), a ranking member also confirmed that the sanctions are necessary. Other panel members have also confirmed that these sanctions are crucial to keeping the United States safe, including Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).
Sen. Crapo released a statement expressing how he feels regarding the new sanctions. He stated: “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.”