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Barr proposes legislation to strengthen U.S. sanctions against North Korea

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Kentucky Congressman Andy Barr, R-Lexington, has introduced legislation that would include the most far-reaching sanctions ever aimed at North Korea.

The bill, sponsored by the Sixth District Congressman, would punish foreign banks and other financial institutions for dealing with those facilitating North Korea-related business, which he said would be an incentive for traders, middlemen, and others to give up activities that ultimately strengthen the regime of Kim Jong-un.

Congressman Andy Barr, R-Lexington, is proposing even stronger sanctions against North Korea.

In addition, the bill targets foreign banks that deal with North Korean laborers, more than 50,000 of whom have been sent abroad to amass hard currency.

Up to 90 percent of these laborers’ wages are confiscated by the North Korean government for this purpose, bringing Pyongyang an estimated $300 million each year.

“For more than two decades, foreign aid and half-hearted sanctions have been deployed in vain to thwart the Kim regime’s ambitions, a strategy of ‘strategic patience’ that has proven highly ineffective,” Barr said. “That is why I have introduced this legislation that would, if enacted, impose the most far-reaching financial sanctions ever aimed at North Korea.”

In addition to bringing about an economic reckoning for Pyongyang, these sanctions will strengthen the American negotiating position by sending a strong signal to North Korea and its enablers that the status quo is unacceptable, he said.

The bill, H.R. 3898, is called “The Impeding North Korea’s Access to Finance Act of 2017.”

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