U.S. Senate Bill Would Thwart Reopening of Kaesong Complex

  • By Cho Yi-jun

    July 24, 2017 11:53

    Several U.S. Senators have proposed a bill that would thwart moves by President Moon Jae-in to reopen the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex in order to bring North Korea to the negotiating table.

    The Banking Restrictions Involving North Korea Act of 2017, sponsored by Republican Senator Pat Toomey and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, is aimed at increasing financial pressure on North Korea and penalizing banks for doing business with the renegade country.

    It takes the rare precaution of singling out the cross-border industrial park as a target for potential sanctions. It would require the U.S. president to order an investigation into financial institutions doing business directly or indirectly with North Korean banks, and those that fail to implement sanctions against the North will be denied access to the U.S. financial system.

    It is mainly aimed at Chinese banks suspected of doing business with North Korea and excluding the North from the international financial network to block any source of funding for the North's nuclear and missile programs.

    The bill envisages easing sanction against North Korea should it move to scrap its nuclear and missile programs or free jailed U.S. citizens, though any move must be scrutinized by the Senate.

    But it insists that the Kaesong complex must remain shut as long as the North refuses to scrap its nuclear and missile programs, including delivery systems. U.S. senators fear that the hard currency North Korea earned through the industrial park was used to finance its development of weapons of mass destruction.

    South Korea closed down the complex in 2016 after North Korea conducted a nuclear test.

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