Two senators are planning to soon unveil bipartisan legislation that would impose secondary sanctions on financial entities that do business with North Korea.
Sens. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, and Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, will introduce the measure in the coming weeks, according to their offices, which aims to bring North Korea to the negotiating table by cutting off its access to the international financial system.
"The bill is designed to offer foreign banks, specifically Chinese banks, with a stark choice: continue business with North Korea or maintain access to the U.S. financial system," their offices said in a preview of the bill.
In addition, the measure would authorize the president to suspend or terminate U.S. sanctions if North Korea makes significant and verifiable progress toward dismantling its "weapons of mass destruction program, stopping its testing of ballistic missiles, and returning all U.S. citizens and permanent residents that have been abducted by North Korea," the preview said.
The bill's introduction will follow North Korea's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4. Experts fear that North Korea could be capable of launching a nuclear warhead on a missile that could reach the U.S. mainland.
In early May, the House overwhelmingly passed a sanctions bill that would target North Korea's shipping industry and use of what the bill called "slave labor." The Senate has not yet taken up the bill. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is weighing whether to unilaterally impose sanctions on Chinese companies that fuel North Korea's economy, according to a report Thursday by the Associated Press.