U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) lauded new sanctions announced against shipping companies and vessels tied to North Korea on Friday as a necessary move to compel North Korea to engage in “a credible diplomatic process” with denuclearization as the ultimate goal.
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced a new sanctions package that targets 27 entities and 28 vessels tied to North Korea, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and four additional countries for violating earlier sanctions barring trade with North Korea.
“I have long called for expanding sanctions, increasing our diplomatic efforts, improving our alliances with South Korea and Japan, and strengthening our military posture,” Menendez, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said. “We must use the full arsenal of our tools to stop North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and missile program in order to protect the national security of the United States.”
Menendez added the Trump Administration has failed to get North Korea to change its behavior and the United States “must now explore secondary sanctions against Chinese and Russian entities.”
“I remain deeply concerned, however, that the Trump administration simply does not understand how to convert pressure from increased sanctions into a diplomatic solution,” Menendez concluded. “And we cannot allow reckless actions or tweets from President Trump to lead us into a nuclear crisis with North Korea. While we should have no illusions that there are easy answers when it comes to dealing with a regime like North Korea, our goal must be a diplomatic solution and ultimately, a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.”