U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), members of the Senate Banking Committee, released the following statement on the importance of including secondary sanctions:
"Our response to North Korea's recent ICBM test must be bold, decisive, and comprehensive. The Russia, Iran, and North Korea Sanctions Act falls short of the aggressive sanctions needed to sever North Korea’s ties to the international financial system and create the leverage necessary for successful nuclear negotiations. That is why we introduced the bipartisan Banking Restrictions Involving North Korea (BRINK) Act last week, which addresses key gaps in the House’s legislation.
"North Korea is on track to develop a nuclear-tipped ICBM capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. It is imperative that we use every economic weapon in our arsenal to prevent that from happening. The BRINK Act, combined with the legislation under consideration in the House, is our best chance at peacefully resolving the North Korean nuclear threat."
Background on the legislation:
· North Korea maintains access to the international financial system through a network of Chinese-based front companies that allow it to evade international sanctions. The BRINK Act mandates a comprehensive set of sanctions on banks that do business with North Korea to cut off this access. Critically, the BRINK Act also imposes severe and escalating fines on those banks—tools that were essential in bringing Iran to the nuclear negotiating table and that are not included in the House bill.
· The BRINK Act also provides an expedited opportunity for Congress to block any administration from lifting the sanctions without Congressional consent.
· The BRINK Act requires the administration to issue a new unclassified, publicly available report on any financial institutions that do business with North Korea, ensuring that evaders of sanctions are named, shamed, and ultimately shut out of the global financial system.
· Similar to the House bill, the BRINK Act also includes provisions that are aimed at stopping illicit trade and further enforcing UN sanctions.