A U.S. senator introduced legislation on Friday looking to prohibit any entities engaging with North Korea from the dollar system and to impose sanctions on businesses using North Korean labor.
The legislation, entitled the North Korean Enablers Accountability Act was introduced by Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity.
“We must take every diplomatic and economic measure now to stop North Korea and to prevent nuclear war,” Gardner said in a press release.
“My bipartisan legislation gives those that currently conduct trade with North Korea a clear choice – either do business with this heinous outlaw regime or do business with the world’s leading economic and military power.”
The Senator also admitted that military options were not realistic, saying that “direct negotiations” along with increasing pressure and sanctions were the only way forward.
The comments echo remarks from high-level staffers in Washington who have said the U.S. would prefer a diplomatic solution to North Korea’s rapidly developing weapons programs, while the Trump administration decided to pursue a policy dubbed “maximum pressure and engagement”.
Gardner’s proposed legislation comes on the heels of North Korea successfully testing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on July 4. DPRK state-media called the missile the Hwasong-14 and claimed it could strike the U.S. mainland.
In response, the newly proposed legislation would block all transactions that occur on the behalf of the North Korean government or its associates.
It would also “block any entity or financial institution implicated in any significant trade in goods or services with North Korea from the U.S. financial system,” including the top ten largest Chinese importers of North Korean goods.
Lastly, the bill would prohibit goods made with DPRK labor from entering the U.S. and designate entities involved with the North’s practice of hiring out cheap labor to foreign companies.
“(The legislation makes) the choice is clear for these facilitators: continue business with North Korea and lose access to the U.S. financial system or comply with UN and U.S. sanctions against North Korea,” Anthony Ruggiero, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told NK News.
The news follows new sanctions from the Department of Treasury, and Washington trying to use North Korean sanctions enforcement as an incentive for the DPRK’s allies to alleviate their own U.S. designations.
But one expert warned Gardner’s bill remains in the early stages and has some way to go before it arrives on President Trump’s desk.
“Remember that there is a lot of signaling legislation that is thrown up that may or may not get off the ground,” Stephan Haggard, director of the Korea-Pacific Program at IR/PS, told NK News.
The original version of this story originally incorrectly stated that recent North Korea sanctions came from the State Department, but has been amended to show they were issued by the Department of Treasury.
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Featured Image: The White House, Northside, Washington DC by Glyn Lowe Photoworks. on 2013-03-12 19:07:52