WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel, the leading Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement at a markup of HR 757, the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act of 2015, which was approved unanimously by the committee:
“Mr. Chairman, I want to personally thank you for bringing up this important, bipartisan legislation. As always, you are clear-headed and determined and steady, on important issues, such as North Korea.
“You and I agree about the threat posed by North Korea. I want to thank you for giving this issue the attention it deserves. And I’m proud to be the lead Democratic sponsor of the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act.
“North Korea’s unrelenting pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, their brazen disregard for international law, and their brutality against their own people has gone on for far too long.
“The United States and governments around the world must be clear to leaders in Pyongyang: the only way for the regime to end its political and economic isolation is to abandon its current course. This legislation sends just that message.
“Specifically, this bill broadens sanctions against North Korea. It targets those who are helping to sustain the Kim regime through illicit activities. It also enhances the enforcement of sanctions.
“I have been to North Korea twice. And I must tell you that the North Korean people certainly deserve better than what they have.
“This legislation gives the President important tools, and the flexibility to act in a way that best serves our national interest.
“It also provides important exceptions for the humanitarian relief organizations providing food, medicine, and other assistance to the North Korean people.
“We’ve seen this regime’s track record: a cyber attack against Sony Pictures in December of last year, gross human rights abuses against its own people, an illegal nuclear weapons program. It’s time to raise the costs on the Kim Jung Un government. This is the right legislation at the right time, and I urge my colleagues to support it. I yield back, Mr. Chairman.”