North Korean sanctions bill passes

Published 12:57 am Saturday, February 20, 2016


Congress recently passed legislation that slaps punishing sanctions on the North Korean regime given its recent aggressive, reckless activities.

You may have seen news reports that North Korea in January launched a ballistic missile carrying what is believed to be the country’s first ever satellite into space. North Korea also conducted its fourth nuclear weapons test, claiming that it had detonated a hydrogen bomb. American officials have cast doubt on this claim, but they acknowledge that a smaller nuclear blast did occur. All this amounts to the regime’s unmistakable intent to advance their ability to launch long-range nuclear missiles, which the United States and our allies must prevent.

The Obama Administration’s “strategic patience” with North Korea clearly isn’t working. We have to send them a message that continued aggression in the development of long-range missiles, nuclear capabilities and cyber attacks will ultimately cripple their country.

The North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act (H.R. 757) would apply new, strict sanctions to individuals, banks, and foreign governments who support or do business with North Korea. The House and Senate each passed the legislation by nearly unanimous votes, and I joined a bi-partisan group of my colleagues in urging President Obama to sign the bill. Thankfully, he did, and now he must be willing to utilize these new tools to keep North Korea in check.

The situation with North Korea also has an important Alabama connection. Last year, the Army announced that it would permanently locate a defensive battery of Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missiles on the island of Guam to counter North Korea’s offensive capability. This is the first permanent deployment of THAAD missiles outside of the continental United States.

Those THAAD missiles are manufactured here in Alabama at Lockheed’s Pike County Operations Center near Troy. I actually visited Lockheed’s Pike County Operations Center this past week to meet with many of the workers there and cut the ribbon on yet another expansion of the facility. Lockheed employs hundreds of workers in the Pike County area and their continued investment in our state is a testament to the quality of Alabama’s workforce.

Alabamians have a long history of being at the forefront of our nation’s defense. We should all be proud that high tech missiles made in Troy, Alabama are being deployed to the Pacific as a primary deterrent to North Korea’s aggression.


Martha Roby represents the Wiregrass in the U.S. House of Representatives.