World Economy

America Tightens N. Korea Sanctions

America Tightens N. Korea Sanctions America Tightens N. Korea Sanctions

The House of Representatives has voted almost unanimously to implement further sanctions against Pyongyang. The bill will now move on to the Senate for approval.

Days after North Korea said it tested a nuclear weapon, the House of Representatives voted almost unanimously to approve a bill broadening sanctions against the country, DW reported.

The North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act was introduced in early 2015 but Tuesday’s vote came in response to the nuclear test. It seeks to constrain Pyongyang financially, so that it will not be able to obtain materials needed to build up an arsenal of nuclear weapons.

“What we are concerned about here is the miniaturization of nuclear warheads that fit onto its most reliable missiles,” said Representative Ed Royce, Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and sponsor of the bill.

The move can be seen largely as an effort by the Republican-held Congress to respond to foreign threats it accuses President Barak Obama Administration of ignoring. However, the White House told the Associated Press it doesn’t oppose the bill, which passed 418-2 and will move on to the Senate.

According to Royce, the bill reflects a strategy utilized by the Treasury Department against Pyongyang a year ago.

North Korea said it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb last week, sparking outrage around the world. The UN Security Council is also considering new measures against Pyongyang in response to the action.

Soon after North Korea detonated a nuclear bomb last week, South Korea’s defense minister sought an emergency call with his Chinese counterpart.

A hotline had recently been created as part of an array of new agreements by Seoul and Beijing to increase their links. But the call request received no response, a South Korean official said.

On Wednesday, South Korean President Park Geun-hye gave another indication that her gambit of forging closer links with China to rein in Pyongyang continues to face tests, calling publicly for Beijing to take strong punitive action against its volatile neighbor. “The best partners are those who will hold your hand in difficult times,” Park said in a speech.

Her appeal to China came on a day of low-level confrontation between the two Koreas. Seoul’s military said a small flying object, likely a drone, traveled a few meters over the border from North Korea Wednesday afternoon but turned back after warning shots were fired at it. The two sides continued to blast propaganda messages at each other through speaker systems at their border.

South Korea, like many other countries, sees China as a pivotal figure in blunting North Korea’s military adventurism. Beijing supplies almost all of Pyongyang’s oil and has close trade and military links with the impoverished state.