U.S. Lawmaker Wants to Cut Off N. Korean Access to Hard Currency

A senior U.S. lawmaker is expected to soon introduce new legislation aimed at curbing North Korea's access to strong currency as punishment for the nation's recent detonation of a nuclear device, the Korea Herald reported on Thursday.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) is understood to be behind the legislation.

"A bill containing sanctions against the North will be proposed when a congressional session opens next week," an envoy based in Washington told the Yonhap News Agency.

A different source on Monday said Royce would propose an associated legislative measure "in a few weeks."

Washington and partner states are also seeking new U.N. Security Council sanctions against the North for carrying out its third nuclear test on Feb. 12.

The White House said the response to the event will be a chief focus of the Friday summit between President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to Yonhap.

The international community almost certainly will not involve military consequences for the Stalinist state. Security Council veto holders China and Russia both object to any international armed intervention against the North, Reuters reported on Friday.

"The U.N. Security Council should give an adequate response ... but the action should be directed towards peace on the Korean Peninsula," Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said to journalists in Moscow after meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.

U.N. Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson on Friday said he was assured the Chinese government would wield its influence to convince the North not to carry out further provocative actions and instead return to long-stalled denuclearization negotiations, the Associated Press reported.

Eliasson said the Chinese officials he spoke with in Beijing said "they will do what they can but that we should not exaggerate their influence" over Pyongyang.

February 22, 2013
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A senior U.S. lawmaker is expected to soon introduce new legislation aimed at curbing North Korea's access to strong currency as punishment for the nation's recent detonation of a nuclear device, the Korea Herald reported on Thursday.

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