Republican lawmakers are urging President Obama to take a tougher stance against North Korea, amid threats from the sanctioned nation that it will launch a nuclear attack.
In a letter to the president, lawmakers pressed Obama to re-think the security posture toward the regime of North Korean President Kim Jong Un and its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs.
Fox News reports
the letter, written by representatives from Ohio, Alabama, Utah, Colorado and Oklahoma, also asks Obama to beef up the country's defensive and offensive cooperation with its allies.
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“Each and every entity violating international sanctions on North Korea must immediately be frozen out of global commerce,” the letter stated.
“Urgent action must be taken to undo your devastating reductions to our missile defenses.”
North Korea late Friday formally rejected a U.N. Security Council resolution that demands an end to its nuclear arms program, signaling it would defy international sanctions and pursue its goal of becoming a full-fledged nuclear weapons state, Reuters reports.
The Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Thursday, tightening monetary restrictions and banning the sale of yachts, racing cars, luxury automobiles and certain types of jewelry to tighten a 2006 ban on the export of luxury goods to Pyongyang.
This latest set of sanctions, which calls on all countries to freeze financial transactions or services that could contribute to Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development, came in response to North Korea's underground nuclear test on Feb. 12.
They are the fourth set imposed by the U.N. since the country's first test in 2006.
A statement issued by North Korea’s foreign minister Friday clearly spelled out the country’s defiance in the face of the sanctions while casting the U.S. in the role of the bad guy.
“The DPRK, as it did in the past, vehemently denounces and totally rejects the 'resolution on sanctions' against the DPRK, a product of the U.S. hostile policy toward it,” the statement said.
DPRK is short for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
“The world will clearly see what permanent position the DPRK will reinforce as a nuclear weapons state and satellite launcher as a result of the U.S. attitude of prodding the UNSC into cooking up the 'resolution.'”
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel had a message of his own for North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong Un, before leaving for Afghanistan Friday.
“The United States of America and our allies are prepared to deal with any threat and any reality that occurs in the world,” Hagel said.
“We are aware of what's going on. We have partnerships in that part of the world that are important.”
While there is skepticism in some quarters that this latest round of sanctions will have little or no effect on North Korea’s decision to press on with its armament programs, Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, thinks they’ll get the desired results.
“These sanctions will bite, and bite hard,” Rice said.
Others fear this latest move will play directly into the hands of Kim Jong Un who, they say, will use it as propaganda to stir up anti-U.S. sentiment and direct attention away from government failures.
Earlier this week, the North Korean leader threatened to hit the U.S. with a preemptive nuclear strike.
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