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US lawmakers move to toughen North Korea sanctions

Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce is pictured on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 21, 2013US lawmakers moved Thursday to toughen sanctions against North Korea by targeting money laundering and human rights violations, voicing impatience with the hardline regime. The House Foreign Affairs Committee approved the bill hours after Japan, a US ally that has usually championed a hard line on North Korea, unexpectedly eased sanctions after rare talks between the arch-enemies. The House bill would create a blacklist of officials judged to be involved in human rights abuses after a damning report by a UN commission likened abuses by Kim Jong-Un’s regime to those under Nazi Germany. While the United States already maintains sweeping sanctions against North Korea, the proposed law would seek to make the totalitarian state radioactive for banks from third countries by asking the Treasury Department to consider designating Pyongyang a money-laundering concern.

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