Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, today delivered the following remarks during a full committee hearing entitled: “Evaluating Sanctions Enforcement and Policy Options on North Korea: Administration Perspectives.”
The text of Chairman Crapo’s remarks, as prepared and submitted to the record, is below.
“This morning, the Committee will receive testimony from Administration witnesses on the efforts made by the Treasury and State Departments to pressure the government of Kim Jong Un in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or North Korea, to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
“For the last nine months, the Trump Administration has issued strong warnings against North Korea and has tried to maintain pressure on China to act in unison with the rest of the international community.
“In April 2017, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats issued a joint statement in which they said the United States must seek to ‘pressure North Korea into dismantling its nuclear, ballistic missile, and proliferation programs by tightening economic sanctions and pursuing diplomatic measures with our Allies and regional partners.’
“The Banking Committee last met on North Korea three weeks ago and heard a panel of sanctions scholars and professionals agree that economic and diplomatic pressure must be maintained specifically against Kim’s regime and those that enrich it if there is any chance for a de-nuclearization of North Korea to succeed.
“In these past few weeks, Kim has continued to draw international condemnation for his ordering a missile fired over Japan, and for his ordering of another test of a nuclear device, this one possibly being an atmospheric test of a type of hydrogen bomb.
“These actions only serve to suggest that if North Korea were to become a nuclear-armed state, it would present an existential threat to at least several of its Asian neighbors, while posing a great danger to American citizens.
“Faced with a narrow set of policy options available, the world continues to center efforts on isolating the Kim regime through harsher sets of sanctions and to force it into serious talks about its weaponization plans.
“As a result, U.S. United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley successfully led a charge two weeks ago to press further UN sanctions against North Korea.
“And, last week, President Trump issued the strongest Executive Order, to date, to enhance and increase sanctions not only against North Korea, but also those that would choose to help the North Korean regime by continuing to engage in illicit transactions with it.
“Many Members of Congress, including on this committee, have a keen interest in knowing more about how and when enforcement of these new measures will occur, wondering if last week’s executive order and earlier UN sanctions will be sufficient to achieve U.S. policy goals.
“In particular, Banking Committee Senators Toomey and Van Hollen have introduced a strong sanctions package and Senator Gardner, of the Foreign Relations Committee has also introduced a strong sanctions bill.
“To their credit, each of these legislative efforts awaiting Banking Committee action suggest a next step beyond the recent sanctions actions, even of the President and UN.
“Congress also has a role to play in authorizing diplomatic, military, economic and other types of pressure on the Kim regime, and I am committed to working closely with my colleagues to carefully assess the options available to the Banking Committee to enhance that pressure.
“I appreciate the strong interest in this effort from my colleagues on this Committee and in the Senate, and agree that for right now, the key is to effectively use every tool necessary to maximize pressure against North Korea, while isolating it from its enablers.
“It cannot be stressed enough that the time has come for the U.S. to take the lead to ensure that all nations work together to isolate the Kim regime until it has no choice but to change its dangerous, belligerent behavior.”