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US Senate backs new sanctions on North Korea

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The United States Senate has backed new sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear program.

The senators unanimously backed North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act in a 96-0 vote on Wednesday, arguing the UN Security Council was too slow in stifling the Asian state’s threat.

“China, the very entity that could do something about this, is blocking the UN Security Council’s action toward this being done on a multilateral basis,” said Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The legislation would require President Barack Obama to sanction anyone who is “involved with North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, arms-related materials, luxury goods, human rights abuses, activities that negatively impact cybersecurity and the use of coal or metals in any of the activities,” according to the Hill.

Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who helped spearhead the legislation, said it would “create a ripple effect, not only here but across the world.”

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) who recently dropped out of the GOP race for the 2016 presidential election had a different idea.

He urged colleagues to vote against the legislation as it would grant the Democratic president more power to waive the sanctions.

“For decades now Congress has granted the president national security waivers,” Paul said. “Then Congress complains because the president is doing an overreaching, and yet we give him the very power.”

Last week, a similar bill was passed at the US House of Representatives.

Pyongyang has been under UN sanctions over its nuclear tests and launching missiles considered by the US and South Korea as ballistic and aimed at delivering nuclear warheads.

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