Senate passes strengthened North Korea sanctions

congressThe United States Senate voted 96-0 Wednesday to pass the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act, which strengthens our nation’s ability to sanction North Korea.

“I am greatly concerned by the increasingly provocative actions taken by North Korea over the past few months in direct violation of UN Security Council Resolutions and international norms,” U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. said. “Its reported test of a nuclear weapon in early January, the launch this past weekend of a rocket with a range that could strike the U.S. west coast, and the detainment of U.S. citizens – including those with ties to Virginia – demonstrate North Korea’s continued determination to threaten global stability and U.S. interests.

“I was pleased to see the Security Council condemn these actions, and I urge the Administration to work with our international partners to increase the effect of multilateral sanctions to make clear to North Korea that its actions have consequences.  As part of this effort, I voted for this bill to impose additional U.S. sanctions on North Korea and see it as a targeted way to compel Pyongyang to abide by international law and norms of behavior,” Warner said.

The amended legislation now returns to the House of Representatives, which approved an earlier version of the legislation, for final consideration.

“Recent provocations by the North Koreans, including the ballistic missile launch and nuclear tests, violate numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions and pose a significant threat to both the United States and our allies in the region,” U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said. “I’m proud to join nearly all of my Senate colleagues in supporting legislation to sanction this rogue regime and give the Obama administration additional tools to confront this growing threat.”

Kaine also called for the release of Otto Frederick Warmbier, a third-year student from the University of Virginia recently detained by the North Korean government, stating that “we must prioritize and ensure the safe return of our citizens” that are detained by the North Korean regime.