Senators Seek to Force Trump’s Hand by Imposing New North Korea Sanctions

Senators would add the sanctions to defense bill

Some in the Senate are keen to push President Trump to take an even harder line on North Korea, and have designed a new series of banking-related sanctions against anyone doing any business with North Korea.

The sanctions, pushed by Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) are being pushed as an amendment to the annual defense spending bill. Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Inhofe (R-OK) backs the proposal, and a successful amendment would assure passage.

The banking sanctions roughly echo US banking sanctions against Iran. Sen. Toomey argued it is necessary for “maximum economic pressure.” Yet making them Senate-imposed sanctions also limits President Trump’s own options for approaching North Korea.

With talks between the US and North Korea already on hold, the timing is potentially risky. North Korea has seen every attempt at diplomacy met with more US sanctions, and will probably view new sanctions as more of the same, and another indicator that the US doesn’t take negotiations seriously.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.