Menendez, Gardner, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Impose Economic Embargo on North Korea and Its Enablers

Press Release

Date: July 13, 2017
Location: Washington, DC

Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), in an effort led by Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), today introduced today bipartisan legislation that would ban any entity that does business with North Korea or its enablers from using the United States financial system and to impose U.S. sanctions on all those participating in North Korean labor trafficking abuses. The legislation, titled the North Korean Enablers Accountability Act, is cosponsored by Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

"North Korea's Fourth of July intercontinental ballistic missile test constitutes a new level of threat to U.S. national security and regional peace and stability that requires a firm response," said Senator Menendez. "This provocative and destabilizing act has rightly been condemned by the United States and the international community and must serve only to further isolate North Korea. In that vein, the bill we are introducing today is a bipartisan effort that represents additional measures required to get our North Korea policy right. We seek to impose real consequences for those entities who, even after Kim Jong-un's defiance and continued flagrant violations of international law, continue to do business and support his vicious regime. In light of Pyongyang's continued determination to have a functional missile capable of reaching the United States topped with a nuclear warhead, I will continue to work with my colleagues in a bipartisan manner to seek effective measures to curtail North Korea's dangerous and destabilizing behavior."

"With its latest successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, North Korea has demonstrated intent and capability to hit the U.S. homeland -- and as President Trump said, we must never allow this to happen," said Senator Gardner. "We must take every diplomatic and economic measure now to stop North Korea and to prevent nuclear war. My bipartisan legislation gives those that currently conduct trade with North Korea a clear choice -- either do business with this heinous outlaw regime or do business with the world's leading economic and military power."

"There is no military solution to the threat of a nuclear North Korea," said Senator Markey. "We must utilize direct negotiations with Pyongyang alongside increased economic sanctions pressure from China to bring the Kim regime to the table and ultimately rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons. These negotiations could offer the prospect of engaging North Korea in line with international norms by ending horrific human rights abuses, including labor trafficking."

On July 4, North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that demonstrated the capability of reaching the U.S. homeland. Two weeks prior to that, North Korea tested a rocket engine capable of carrying an intercontinental ballistic missile. In 2016, North Korea conducted two nuclear tests and 24 ballistic missile launches. This year, North Korea fired 17 missiles during 11 tests.

Senator Menendez has continuously urged the Trump Administration to put North Korea at the top of their agenda. As a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Menendez introduced the North Korea Sanctions Enhancement Act which was signed into law on February 18, 2016. This bipartisan legislation strengthened and expanded financial and discretionary sanctions against the Kim regime and those who might wish to assist them after North Korea conducted its 4th nuclear test on January 6th, 2016.