Royce:  “Administration’s failure to impose the type of tough financial sanctions that hit the Kim regime hard in 2005… is more indefensible by the day. ”

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued this statement following the U.S. government announcement that North Korea is responsible for the cyber attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment:

“It is time to stop being surprised by North Korea.  This is just the latest in its decades of hostility toward the U.S. and our allies.  Cyber attacks are just the newest escalation, joining North Korea’s advancing nuclear weapons and missile program in its arsenal.  Cyber attacks are a grave threat to our national security.  American lives could be lost as a consequence of cyber attacks against our critical infrastructure.  Unfortunately the Administration has been slow to respond.    

“The new Congress must quickly pass the North Korea sanctions bill that the House sent to the Senate last July.  The Administration’s failure to impose the type of tough financial sanctions that hit the Kim regime hard in 2005, before they were unwisely ended, is more indefensible by the day.  The regime must feel the great economic pressure these sanctions brought, and could bring again.

“North Korea is attacking our infrastructure.  It is also attacking our values.  The decision to pull ‘The Interview’ from theatres unfortunately is a North Korean victory in its attack on our freedom.  We better quickly respond comprehensively to defend freedom of speech in the face of terrorist threats and cyber attacks.”

Note:  Royce, who has visited North Korea, is the author of H.R. 1771, the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act.  The House of Representatives passed the bipartisan H.R. 1771 in July.  The legislation strengthens existing sanctions against North Korea by prohibiting North Korea’s access to critical resources — such as hard currency and other goods — that keeps the Kim regime in power.  Importantly, the legislation holds North Korean officials accountable for gross human rights abuses, which were highlighted in the recent United Nations Commission of Inquiry.  In strengthening sanctions against North Korea, the legislation in no way affects humanitarian aid.