U.S. President Barack Obama will sign a North Korea sanctions bill that has passed Congress with overwhelming support, the White House reaffirmed Wednesday, saying the legislation will serve the administration's goal of increasing pressure on Pyongyang.
The legislation (H.R.757) passed through the Senate and the House last week in a demonstration of bipartisan support for a tough response to the North's nuclear and missile tests that raised concern that Pyongyang is making progress in efforts to develop nuclear missiles capable of striking the U.S.
"The administration is deeply concerned about North Korea's actions and their recent provocations. And I can confirm that the president does plan to sign H.R.757, which includes sanctions measures against North Korea and will serve to increase pressure on North Korea," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said at a regular briefing.
"That is a goal that Congress stated and it's a goal that we share," he said. "I don't know precisely when the president will sign that bill but we will let you know. But our plan is to sign it."
The legislation calls for the mandatory blacklisting of those assisting Pyongyang with its nuclear and missile programs, human rights abuses, cyber-attacks and other crimes. It is believed to be the strongest sanctions bill ever introduced in Congress against the communist nation.
It was the first time that a sanctions bill exclusively targeting North Korea has been passed by both the House and the Senate. Many North Korea sanctions proposals have been introduced to Congress so far, but none of them has passed both chambers.
"The North Korean regime will continue to be isolated until they begin to take steps closer in the direction of not just the United States and South Korea, but even countries like China, with whom they have a vital relationship," Earnest said.