Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, is lauding North Korea sanctions legislation that his committee unanimously advanced today. “The time has come for the U.S. to take the lead to ensure that all nations work together to isolate the Kim regime until it has no choice but to change its dangerous, belligerent behavior,” Crapo said in a statement.
The “Otto Warmbier Banking Restrictions Involving North Korea Act of 2017” will expand and strengthen current U.S. sanctions on North Korea, Crapo said, further restricting the Kim regime’s ability to sustain its advancing nuclear weapons capability and continued missile testing. “A North Korea armed with nuclear weapons presents an existential threat to several of its Asian neighbors, as well as a great danger to American citizens,” Crapo’s office said in a news release.
The bill would strengthen and expand existing U.S. sanctions on North Korea and its financial facilitators and supporters; step up congressional oversight; allow states and local governments to divest from, or prohibit investment in, companies that engage in certain investment activity in North Korea; and increase the Treasury Department’s role in combating human trafficking; there's more on it here.
The bill is named for Otto Warmbier, the 21-year-old student from Ohio who was arrested in North Korea for trying to steal a propaganda sign from a hotel, was held in captivity for 17 months, and then died shortly after returning to the U.S. in a coma and with severe brain damage.
The House already has passed a sanctions bill named after Warmbier, on a 415-2 vote; it has some differences from the new Senate bill, which is sponsored by Crapo and Banking Committee ranking Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio.