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Rubio, Gardner, Risch Unveil Sweeping New North Korean Sanctions Legislation

Oct 6, 2015 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) today introduced the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2015 (NKSPEA). NKSPEA includes broad new sanctions against individuals involved in North Korea’s nuclear program and proliferation activities, as well as officials involved in overseeing the regime’s continued human rights abuses.
In addition to sanctions, NKSPEA states that it is the policy of the United States to vigorously pursue sanctions against the North Korean government in order to peacefully disarm the North Korean regime. It would require the President to submit a strategy to counter North Korean cyber-related attacks and impose U.S. sanctions on cybercriminals. It would also codify two executive orders released in 2015 authorizing sanctions against entities undermining U.S. national and economic security in cyberspace. Further, it would require a report by the State Department identifying human rights abusers in North Korea and a report on the North Korean regimes’ political prison camps.
“While the world is distracted by other bad actors, the North Korean regime continues to flagrantly conduct  illegal arms sales, proliferate sensitive technology, expands its nuclear weapons program conduct cyberattacks, and repress the North Korean people,” Rubio said. “The North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2015 bolsters our current sanctions regime against North Korea. The United States must continue to stand against Kim Jong Un’s tyrannical regime and work to pressure North Korea’s leadership to end the modern day gulags that should haunt our consciences.”
“While much attention has rightfully been paid to developments in the Middle East, we must not forget the severe risk posed by the nuclear-armed and increasingly belligerent regime in North Korea,” Gardner said. “The regime is a menace to the region and to its own people, with a disturbing record of human rights violations. We need a stronger, more focused policy on North Korea, and if the Administration is unwilling to provide it, Congress must act. The new sanctions within this legislation would apply the pressure required to change North Korea’s behavior, and would mandate that the United States finally have a unified strategy for dealing with North Korean cyberattacks. We can’t go any longer without a serious plan to deal with this threat. It’s time to get serious.”
“North Korea remains one of the biggest nuclear threats to the United States and our allies around the world,” Risch said.  “The Obama Administration has failed to take this threat seriously and instead focused on a bad deal with Iran.  It is time for the United States to increase pressure on North Korea and require them to end their nuclear program, stop the cyber-attacks against us, and respect the human rights of their own citizens.  This legislation will help create a clear strategy and impose the same type of sanctions that drove Iran to the negotiating table.
A full copy of the sanctions legislation is available here.