March 23, 2017 12:52
The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee introduced fresh sanctions on Wednesday against North Korea sending workers overseas and importing crude oil and related products.
North Koreans laborers overseas have been one of the key sources of dollar revenues for the North Korean regime's nuclear weapons and missile programs.
Committee Chairman Ed Royce introduced the Korea Interdiction and Modernization of Sanctions Act, which improves on sanctions Congress authorized in February last year. The measures are far more sweeping than the sanctions imposed so far by the UN.
Entities that are caught violating oil sale sanctions could face retaliatory measures from the U.S. government. But more than 90 percent of the crude oil North Korea imports comes from China, which is unlikely to be impressed.
A diplomatic source said, "It will be difficult for the U.S. to pressure China to halt crude oil supplies to North Korea immediately, but Chinese companies that do will have to fear becoming targets of a secondary boycott by the U.S."
The legislation also stops North Korea from selling fishing rights and cracks down on online gambling and commerce websites operated by the North.
It prohibits "goods produced in whole or part by North Korean forced labor" from entering the U.S. as well as banning foreigners who employ North Korean labor. It also bans imports of North Korean agriculture and other food products.
The bill prohibits foreign banks from allowing North Koreans to open accounts and bans shipping insurance guarantees to North Korean vessels.
"The legislation will provide the grounds to sanction all governments, businesses and individuals who deal with North Korea," a diplomatic source said.
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