U.S. bill urges more sanctions

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U.S. bill urges more sanctions

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill to toughen sanctions against North Korea and restrict its access to hard currency.

The bill would empower President Barack Obama to target foreign banks that facilitate the North Korean government’s development and proliferation of weapons technology, arms trading and imports of luxury goods by barring them from the U.S. financial system.

The committee’s Republican chairman, Representative Ed Royce, has likened the bill to sanctions the U.S. imposed against a Macau-based bank in 2005 but later lifted to facilitate nuclear talks with Pyongyang.

The prospects for passing the legislation remains uncertain. It must also pass the Senate and then be approved by the president.

Such a law would be unpopular with Beijing, as it could impact Chinese banks that work with North Korea.

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