Rice: New sanctions against North Korea will 'bite, and bite hard'

The U.N. Security Council on Thursday unanimously adopted new sanctions against North Korea drafted by the United States and China amid threats of nuclear war against America.


“Taken together, these sanctions will bite and bite hard,” said the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice. “They increase North Korea's isolation and raise the cost to North Korea's leaders of defying the international community.”

The new sanctions aim to block financial transactions in support of illicit North Korean activities such as illegal weapons sales, crack down on bulk cash transfers and further restrict ties to North Korea’s financial sector. They were adopted in response to North Korea's third nuclear test last month.

Kim Jong Un's regime responded by threatening a preemptive nuclear strike against the U.S.

ADVERTISEMENT
The threats and sanctions come as Congress is considering further actions against the North Korean regime. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said Tuesday he planned to introduce legislation shortly to cut off illicit funding for the regime, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) held a hearing Thursday with Glyn Davies, the State Department's special representative for North Korea policy.

North Korea's “leadership in Pyongyang faces sharp choices,” Davies said. “And we are working to further sharpen those choices.”

He said China's support for the new sanctions – and the fact that Mao Tse-Tong's grandson recently publicly called for a Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons – are hopeful signs that China may cease to sustain North Korea. And he pushed back against Republican assertions that President Obama's disarmament push has emboldened North Korea. 

“I haven't seen in my frequent travels to Japan and [South Korea] that there are deep concerns that our commitment to them is at all in jeopardy,” he said. “I'm not going to spin you and tell you that the North Koreans are going to pack up their nuclear weapons and put them in a pile and burn them up if we pass further arms control treaties with Russia and so forth. But what it does is it has a tremendous effect on all 189 nations who are signatories of the Non-Proliferation Treaty ... and reduces North Korea's running room, makes it tougher for North Korea to continue to claim these weapons in order to defend themselves.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has staked out a tough stance on foreign policy ahead of a possible presidential run in 2016, urged Davies and the administration not to “over-rely” on the stalled six-party talks and instead lay the groundwork for an eventual peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula. 

He laid out a three-step process: Prevent or at least delay North Korea's ability to obtain a deliverable nuclear weapon; publicly catalog the regime's abysmal human rights record, notably its concentration camps and ban on religion, at every turn; and encourage a peaceful re-unification.

“We need to do everything we can, along with our partners in the region and the world, to create the conditions where hopefully one day we can have a unified, democratic, peaceful Korea,” he said. “Who could have predicted East Germany would have fallen? But it did.”