US House sends North Korea sanction bill to Obama

Washington, Feb 13 (IANS) US House of Representatives on Friday overwhelmingly passed a legislation to impose new sanctions on North Korea, sending the bill to President Barack Obama to sign into law.

In a 408-2 vote, lawmakers approved legislation that requires the Obama administration to sanction anyone involved with Pyongyang’s nuclear programme, luxury goods, money laundering and human rights abuses.

The measure also authorizes $10 million annually over the course of five years for expanding North Korea people’s access to media and providing humanitarian assistance to refugees, according to news website The Hill.

The Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed the legislation by a vote of 96-0. It now heads to Obama’s desk for his signature. The White House has signally support for the bill.

The move comes after the Pyongyang said it launched a Kwangmyongsong-4 Earth observation satellite into orbit on Sunday and last month tested what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb.

The US has condemned “destabilizing and provocative” actions and vowed to “take all necessary steps to defend ourselves and our allies.”

“This fourth nuclear weapons test and this latest ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) test over the weekend … has focused the attention of the members of the Senate and the House on the fact that the administration’s policy of strategic patience is not working and that we have to take concerted action,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce.

“It is a goal to get North Korea to the table, but we must be serious about applying the sanctions,” Royce added.

The House had previously passed another version of Pyongyang sanctions measure last month but opted to clear the Senate amendments that included the authorized funds for media access and humanitarian aid, according to The Hill.

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