The chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee has introduced a bill calling for strengthening sanctions on North Korea in a symbolic move that suggests such legislation can be pursued in the incoming Congress, diplomatic sources said Wednesday.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act of 2014 (S. 3012) on Dec. 12, according to the sources. The legislation followed a similar bill (H.R. 1771) that passed the House earlier this year.
Though both bills are expected to be scrapped as the current Congress expires next week, the move is still meaningful because it suggests similar legislation can be pursued in a bipartisan manner when the new Congress comes in, the sources said.
The House bill of the same name, introduced by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, passed through the House in July. Royce said in a recent interview with Yonhap News Agency that should the bill be scrapped, he would make sure to introduce it again in the new Congress.
Efforts to tighten sanctions on North Korea could gain traction in the new Congress because the U.S. vowed to punish Pyongyang after the FBI determined that the communist nation was behind last month's massive cyber-attack on Sony Pictures. (Yonhap)