The following is an excerpt from TheWeeklyStandard.com | January 21, 2016 |
Six days after North Korea’s fourth nuclear test, and just hours before President Obama would address the Congress for his final State of the Union speech, the House of Representatives passed the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act (NKSEA) by a vote of 418-2. (Full disclosure: I worked with Foreign Affairs Committee staff to draft the legislation.)
If the NKSEA becomes law, it will greatly strengthen our relatively weak sanctions on North Korea and legislate a return to the only strategy that has ever worked against it — cutting off its access to the global financial system, and stranding its billions of dollars in regime-sustaining slush funds in Chinese and European banks. It would require the Treasury Department to follow and block the money that funds the army, secret police, and elites that keep Kim Jong-un in power; and pays for his luxury cars, ski resorts, dolphin aquariums, waterparks, and copious diet, while the vast majority of his subjects go hungry. Critically, it would also impose secondary sanctions on third-country banks that launder the proceeds of its illicit activities, arms deals, and forced labor, and help sustain its proliferation and human rights abuses.
Senate leaders are now working to merge two versions of the House bill into a bipartisan compromise, which Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expects the Senate to act on soon. In the eleventh hour of his presidency, with his diplomatic efforts stalled, the president has little reason to veto the bill.
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