US President Barack Obama slammed North Korea with new expanded sanctions for defying the world and going ahead with its nuclear testing programs. The decision to sign off the sanctions came weeks after North Korea put a satellite-carrying rocket in space and launched its fourth underground nuclear test.
The moves by North Korea were decried by the world amid fears that the country could continue to move towards arming itself with an atomic arsenal. Its refusal to stop its nuclear program made the passage of the bill in Congress much easier.
The BBC reported that a UN Security Council resolution on new sanctions are being negotiated by the US and China, which feels like some of the measures can gravely affect North Korea’s economy.
The sanctions aim to cut off the flow of the money that North Korea needs to build the nuclear weapons. The bill also authorises US$50 million (AU$70.48 million) over five years for humanitarian programs in North Korea, to transmit radio broadcasts into it and purchase communication equipment.
“This is an authoritarian regime. It’s provocative. It has repeatedly violated UN resolutions, tested and produced nuclear weapons, and now they are trying to perfect their missile launch system,” the CBC News quoted Obama as saying in an interview broadcast by CBS This Morning, following the launch of a long-range rocket by North Korea.
Senator Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat and sponsor of the bill, said that he hopes that the UN and China acknowledges the move taken by the US and take similar measures. “Let’s stand together with a single voice and one clear message: Any provocation will be met with consequences that will shake the Kim regime to its foundations,” the CBC News quoted Menendez as saying.
Following North Korea’s nuclear test on January 6, the US had held talks with China, Japan and South Korea to reassure them of its commitment towards their security.