This past June, our Cincinnati community and the nation mourned the loss of Otto Warmbier, who was unjustly detained, murderously mistreated, and tragically died at the hands of the North Korean regime.
We can never undo the brutality Otto suffered. We cannot help the pain and heartache endured by his family and his friends. But we must continue to use all economic and diplomatic tools at our disposal to hold this hostile regime accountable for its repeated and aggressive actions against our citizens, our interests, our allies, and our security.
Today, the House of Representatives passed the Otto Warmbier North Korea Nuclear Sanctions Act (H.R. 3898) in direct response to North Korea's hostile actions. This bill, bearing Otto's name, imposes the most far-reaching financial sanctions yet to be directed at North Korea by cutting off Pyongyang's ability to finance its weapons programs. Watch my remarks in strong support of this bill here or below:
In addition to this bill, I joined House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce and Ranking Member Eliot Engel in sending a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging him to designate North Korea as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Below is an excerpt from the letter:
"Since North Korea was removed from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list in 2008, the Kim regime has repeatedly perpetrated or supported heinous acts, the most recent example of which was the illegitimate detention, murderous mistreatment, and tragic death of Otto Warmbier. Before Otto’s murder, agents of North Korea assassinated Kim Jong-nam in Malaysia using VX nerve agent. As you know, the willful aiding or abetting of the use or acquisition of chemical weapons is an explicit component of international terrorism under the Arms Export Control Act, one of the authorities authorizing you to designate State Sponsors of Terrorism (22 U.S.C. 2780(d))."
Read the full letter here.