In May, the U.S. Congress will begin the process of handling proposed legislation imposing tough sanctions on North Korea's Kim Jong-un regime, the panel's leader said Wednesday.
Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, revealed the schedule as he addressed a congressional hearing on human rights abuses in the reclusive communist nation.
The congressman, known for his concern about Korean issues, said his influential committee will do all it can to hold the North's leader and his aides accountable for "crimes against humanity."
"Today, I am announcing that the committee plans to consider bipartisan sanctions legislation against North Korea, which I authored, in May of this year," he said.
In April, he proposed the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act of 2013, together with Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the ranking member of the committee.
It directs the U.S. president to investigate credible information of sanctionable activities involving North Korea. It is especially designed to further isolate the North Korean regime from the international financial system.
It "targets the regime where it is most vulnerable -- in the pocketbook -- and it will prevent Kim Jong-un from accessing the hard currency he needs in order to pay his generals," Royce said.
He said the bipartisan legislation already has more than 130 sponsors.
But it remains uncertain whether the bill will be approved by both the House and Senate.
It has only 22 percent chance of being enacted, although it has a 82 percent chance of getting past the committee, according to www.govtrack.us, a website tracking legislation and votes in Congress.
Only 11 percent of bills made it past related committees and only about 3 percent were enacted in 2011-2013, it pointed out. (Yonhap)