Gardner Statement on Financial Sanctions Against North Korea

Washington, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) today released the below statement on the Treasury Department’s designation of North Korea as a “primary money laundering concern,” a move that will further isolate North Korea from the international financial system by prohibiting all direct and indirect contact of North Korea-linked entities with the U.S. financial system.


Gardner’s North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act (NKSPEA), which was signed into law by President Obama, directed Treasury to determine whether North Korea merits a primary money laundering concern designation under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act that aims to protect the U.S. financial system from foreign threats. The NKSPEA also imposes mandatory sanctions on individuals who contribute to North Korea’s nuclear program and proliferation activities, malicious cyberattacks, censorship of its citizens, and the regime’s continued human rights abuses.    


“I’m pleased the Treasury Department, as required by my bill, acted to apply additional pressure to North Korea through this important designation that will send a strong message to Pyongyang and its enablers,” said Gardner. “When I met with Treasury’s Acting Under Secretary Szubin to discuss the important role of U.S. sanctions, I urged him to fully implement NKSPEA, and particularly with regard to entities outside of North Korea whose illicit actions enable the regime's survival. I encourage Treasury to continue to vigorously pursue and implement additional sanctions outlined in my legislation, including designations against North Korea for cyberattacks and human rights violators.”  


The Treasury Department began implementing Gardner’s bill in March, shortly after it was signed into law. In April, Gardner met with Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Adam Szubin, who is the official primarily responsible for enforcing U.S. economic sanctions policy.  As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, Gardner asked for status of the implementation of his North Korea sanctions legislation as well as Treasury’s actions to counter Iran’s recent ballistic missile tests and other nefarious activities.


In light of North Korea’s recent ballistic missile tests, Gardner urged additional sanctions to counter the regime’s continued aggression. Gardner also acted to bolster U.S. missile defense capabilities by introducing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that calls for the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system in South Korea to protect our ally and the 28,500 American servicemen and women stationed in South Korea.


Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.


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