The House of Representatives today officially condemned North Korea for its Feb. 12 nuclear test launch, passing a resolution even as reports surface that North Korea is upgrading one of its major missile launch sites for likely purposes of handling bigger rockets.
The bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif, passed by 412-2 with overwhelming bipartisan support.
In debate on the House floor, Republicans and Democrats found a moment of rare agreement in their condemnation of the North Korean government.
"This test, which is the third time that North Korea has exploded a nuclear device, is a stark reminder that Kim Jong Un is determined to develop his nuclear arsenal while depriving North Koreans of their most basic human rights," said Ed Royce. "This week's test comes only two months after the launch of a North Korean intercontinental missile, leaving no doubt in my mind that decades, decades of fruitless negotiations, frankly, have been a failure. North Korea is a pariah state."
Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., a co-sponsor on the bill, called on China and Russia to "work instructively" with the U.N. Security Council to "show the world that the world is united in opposing North Korea's unacceptable behavior."
"I believe it's very important for the House to speak with a strong bipartisan voice in condemning North Korea's recent nuclear test," he said. "This test was an unnecessary provocation that raises tensions in Northeast Asia, imposes a threat to national security of the United States and our allies in the region. The test also violates numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions and I urge the Security Council to promptly pass a new resolution with additional sanctions to punish the North Korean regime."
A series of recent incidents out of the country - including a satellite launch in December and Tuesday's nuclear test - have caused growing concern about the state of North Korean nuclear capabilities.
Earlier this week, newly minted Secretary of State John Kerry said there must be a "swift, clear, strong and credible" international response to Pyongyang's third nuclear test, which defied U.N. Security Council resolutions.