Senators eye sanctions after North Korea's claimed nuclear test

Greg Nash

Senators from both parties are pushing for stronger sanctions against North Korea after the country said it detonated a hydrogen bomb.

"The administration should impose the toughest and broadest possible sanctions against North Korea and those who aid the regime's illicit activities," Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteSenators to Obama: Make 'timely' call on Afghan troops levels Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief fears sequestration's return Senate GOP ties Iran sanctions fight to defense bill MORE said in a statement.

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The New Hampshire Republican, who has made national security a central part of her reelection campaign, added that the United States must strengthen its missile defense and intelligence sharing with South Korea and Japan.

North Korea announced on Wednesday morning that it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb. The White House has disputed that claim, but if true, it would be a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions and an advancement of the country's nuclear capabilities.

Ayotte, who blamed the test on President Obama's foreign policy, is the latest lawmaker to call for tougher sanctions against the isolated Asian country.

Sen. Ben CardinBen CardinSenate GOP ties Iran sanctions fight to defense bill Lawmakers push to elevate Cyber Command in Senate defense bill Baltimore police officer cleared in Freddie Gray case MORE (D-Md.), ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Robert MenendezRobert MenendezDems pressure Obama on vow to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees Lobbying World This week: GOP lawmakers reckon with Trump MORE (D-N.J.) called on Congress to pass new sanctions legislation in the wake of the test.

Menendez introduced legislation last year with Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamSenators to Obama: Make 'timely' call on Afghan troops levels Senate amendments could sink email privacy compromise Trump: Romney 'walks like a penguin' MORE (R-S.C.) pushing the administration for tougher sanctions against North Korea and its supporters.

Cardin and Menendez both said, separately, that the Security Council should impose its own penalties on North Korea.

"Moreover, given North Korea’s actions, the United States and our allies must also take additional steps to combine effective sanctions with appropriate countermeasures," Cardin added.

Sen. Bob CorkerBob CorkerRubio: 'Maybe' would run for Senate seat if 'good friend' wasn't McConnell-allied group: We'll back Rubio if he runs for reelection The Trail 2016: Interleague play MORE (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said he would work with Cardin and Menendez, as well as Sen. Cory GardnerCory GardnerTen senators ask FCC to delay box plan Lawmakers unveil bills to speed up airport wait times Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief fears sequestration's return MORE (R-Colo.) to "bring further pressure to bear" on the North Korean government. 

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