U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce on Tuesday introduced fresh legislation tightening sanctions on North Korea, including banning any ships of countries violating U.N. sanctions on the North from U.S. waters or ports.
The "Korea Interdiction and Modernization of Sanctions Act" (H.R. 1644) is designed to strengthen last year's North Korea sanctions law by adding new measures, including new U.N. Security Council resolutions that have been billed as the toughest-ever sanctions on Pyongyang.
"North Korea's nuclear arsenal poses a growing and urgent threat to the United States. Soon, many believe the Kim Jong-un regime will be able to target all 50 states and our Asian allies with a nuclear warhead," Royce said in a statement.
"The new administration already has tools at its disposal to help counter this threat," he said, referring to last year's North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act that the congressman authored. "It is clear that additional authorities will better allow the U.S. to crack down on the Kim regime."
The new legislation calls for, among other things, prohibiting "any ships owned by the government of North Korea or owned or operated on behalf of any country not complying with U.N. Security Council resolutions from operating in United States waters or landing at any U.S. port," according to a summary of the bill.
The bill also bans "goods produced in whole or part by North Korean forced labor from entering the United States. It also sanctions foreign persons that employ North Koreans who are forced to labor in inhumane conditions and are denied access to wages and benefits.
"Exporting forced labor to foreign countries is estimated to earn the regime billions of dollars of hard currency each year and represents a significant human rights violation," the summary said.
The legislation also calls for the U.S. government to determine whether the North is a state sponsor of terrorism.