U.S. Government Condemns North Korea Rocket Launch; Additional Multilateral Sanctions Possible
The U.S. Government quickly reacted to North Korea's launch of a long-range Taep'o-dong 2 missile.
The U.S. Northern Command said that the stage one of the missile fell into the Sea of Japan and the remaining stages, along with the payload, landed in the Pacific Ocean. Despite North Korea's claims of launching a communications satellite into orbit, the Northern Command said no object entered orbit.
While in Prague, President Obama said that "North Korea broke the rules, once again, by testing a rocket that could be used for long-range missiles." He also said that such "provocation underscores the need for action - not just this afternoon at the UN Security Council, but in our determination to prevent the spread of these weapons. Rules must be binding" and "violations must be punished."
Representative Howard Berman (D-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee issued the following statement:
It is alarming that North Korea carried out this missile launch in direct defiance of the international community. The test is an unnecessary provocation that raises tensions in the region, and I urge the North Koreans to stop using their missile and WMD programs to threaten their neighbors and the rest of the world. Since the launch violates UN Security Council resolution 1718, I urge the Security Council to take strong and concerted action to demonstrate that Pyongyang’s actions are unacceptable. I especially call on both China and Russia to work constructively with other members of the Security Council to show that the world is united in condemning North Korea’s disturbing behavior.Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said North Korea's "launch and its growing partnership with Iran, as well as its reported assistance to Syria's nuclear program, clearly show that Pyongyang's behavior threatens our interests, our forces in northeast Asia, our allies, and global peace and security." As a result, she announced she will soon introduce legislation that requires U.S. economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation to remain in place "until North Korea abandons its illegal nuclear, missile and weapons programs, and resolves the glaring human rights abuses which it has been causing and perpetuating."
Despite the Bush Administration's decision last year to remove North Korea's designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, the U.S. still imposes comprehensive restrictions on trade with North Korea under the International Emergency Economics Power Act (IEEPA). For example, an export license must be obtained from the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) to export or reexport any item subject to the Export Administration Regulations to North Korea except food and medicine classified as EAR99.
In addition, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) maintains controls on certain transactions involving persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction and North Korean entities or any specially designated North Korean national and prohibits the importation of North Korean goods without prior notification to and approval from OFAC.
The U.N. Security Council will meet at 3 p.m. EDT today to discuss its options, including the possible imposition of additional sanctions.