Washington, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives today approved legislation introduced by U.S. Reps. Barr, Perlmutter, Moore, Hollingsworth, Vargas and French to impose additional sanctions on North Korea. H.R. 3898, the Otto Warmbier North Korea Nuclear Sanctions Act, which seeks to ban U.S. financial institutions from providing financial services to North Korea, passed with overwhelming bipartisan support (415-2).
“Like many Americans, I have serious concerns about escalating tensions with North Korea. North Korea’s recent cyber-attacks, missile launches and nuclear tests pose a direct threat to our national security, but tensions will not be solved through military threats alone,” said Perlmutter. “Instead, strong and steady diplomatic actions and financial sanctions are needed to bring North Korea to the table with the international community.”
Last year, the Department of Treasury found that North Korea supports the development of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles through money laundering, state-controlled financial institutions, and front companies. H.R. 3898 will help combat illegal North Korean financing of weapons proliferation by directing the Secretary of Treasury to:
· Establish strict regulations and penalties on opening and using accounts with foreign institutions with ties to North Korea;
· Prevent the Export-Import Bank from dealing with sanctioned North Koreans; and,
· Oppose financial assistance to foreign countries that continue to offer financial services to sanctioned North Korean entities.
“Secondary sanctions were an important tool used to bring Iran to the bargaining table. I am hopeful this bill will have a similar effect as the U.S. responds to North Korea’s nuclear program,” continued Perlmutter. “President Trump’s rhetoric on this issue has been counterproductive, inconsistent and reckless. We need to chart a careful course that does not escalate an already-dangerous situation.”
H.R. 3898 was introduced earlier this month and passed the House Financial Services Committee unanimously. The title of the legislation changed after its introduction in honor of Otto Warmbier, a University of Virginia student who died after more than a year of being held by the North Korean regime.
Earlier this year, Perlmutter supported bipartisan legislation to require U.S. banks to ensure that accounts are not tied to North Korean entities. H.R. 3364, the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act was signed into law on July 25, 2017.
In addition, Perlmutter sent a letter to President Trump urging him to adopt a strong, strategic, and steady policy toward North Korea.