03:31 GMT +311 December 2017
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    US Legislators Introduce Expanded Sanctions Against North Korea

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    US legislators have introduced the new bill imposing sanctions on foreign firms and banks, collaborating with North Korea's regime.

    A legislation imposing expanded sanctions against North Korea is being currently considered by US law-makers; the new measure would authorize the US to penalize foreign companies for conducting business with Pyongyang.

    US Republican Representative Ed Royce, one of the bill's co-sponsors, elaborated that the legislation was developed in order to exert further pressure on North Korea's regime as well as to punish countries and companies supporting Pyongyang. The politician referred to the North Korean nuclear program as well as a hacking attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment launched by unknown perpetrators in November 2014. It should be noted that although Washington is still blaming Pyongyang for the notorious cyber assault, it has not yet presented ample evidence confirming that North Korea was responsible for the hacking.

    However, the bill would inevitably hit numerous Chinese companies, cooperating with North Korea, Beijing's longstanding ally, media outlets underscore. According to South Korea's International Trade Association data, more than 90 percent of North Korea's exports go to China. Thus far, Chinese commercial firms are likely to be struck by the measure, introduced by the US legislators.

    Remarkably, the legislation has already gained support from both Republicans and Democrats; it is expected that after a similar measure will have been introduced in the Senate, it will attract active bipartisan support.

    In accordance with the bill, US authorities would be authorized to freeze US-held foreign assets of businesses facilitating North Korea nuclear program or providing the isolated state with strong currencies. The measure is meant to impact on banks involved in money laundering in North Korea as well as in human rights abuses or malicious cyber activities against the United States.

    It should be noted that the United States has long been cracking down on North Korea. Together with the United Nations (UN), Washington imposed severe sanctions against the Asian state for its nuclear program. In 2014, US President Obama implemented a package of sanctions targeting Pyongyang's remaining ties with the global financial system. On January 8, 2015, an act entitled "North Korea Sanctions and Diplomatic

    Nonrecognition Act of 2015" was introduced in the US Congress. However, despite the high pressure from the US and UN, Pyongyang has not changed its political and economic course, preserving the state's sovereignty and independence.   

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    Tags:
    Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), cyberattack, sanctions, US Congress, United States
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