House Foreign Affairs chairman dismisses North Korean 'bluster'

The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee dismissed recent North Korean actions as little more than “bluster” on Friday amid news that the country has warned Russia and other countries to evacuate their embassy staff. 

“In all likelihood, this is the same kind of bluster we have seen repeatedly from North Korea,” Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) told CNN. “I've followed these conversations for years – since 1994 – and the type of rhetoric is not unlike what we see rather routinely.”

“They do do very provocative acts … but it's all predicated upon getting what they want to the North, which is a package of more support.”

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He urged the Obama administration not to cave in but to instead create international support for sanctions that would make it harder for Kim Jong Un's regime to have access to the hard currency needed to fund its vast military forces and its nuclear program. 

“At this point I think we should rethink our strategy that we've had since 1994, because it hasn't worked for us,” he said. “We should instead be thinking right now about how we can cut off the flow of hard currency to the regime.”

North Korea's most recent provocative action was to move two ballistic missiles to its east coast, closer to Japan and the U.S. territory of Guam. 

Royce has been working on legislation to cut off proceeds from illegal activities to the North Korean regime. He shared his goals for the committee with The Hill during a sit-down interview in his office last month.

Russia says it has no immediate plans of evacuating Pyongyang.