Washington, D.C. – Senator Edward j. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) that would ban any entity that does business with North Korea or its enablers from using the United States financial system and to impose U.S. sanctions on all those participating in North Korean labor trafficking abuses. The legislation, titled the North Korean Enablers Accountability Act, is cosponsored by, Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Rob Portman (R-OH).

“There is no military solution to the threat of a nuclear North Korea,” said Senator Markey, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity. “We must utilize direct negotiations with Pyongyang alongside increased economic sanctions pressure from China to bring the Kim regime to the table and ultimately rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons. These negotiations could offer the prospect of engaging North Korea in line with international norms by ending horrific human rights abuses, including labor trafficking.”

“With its latest successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, North Korea has demonstrated intent and capability to hit the U.S. homeland – and as President Trump said, we must never allow this to happen,” said Senator Gardner. “We must take every diplomatic and economic measure now to stop North Korea and to prevent nuclear war. My bipartisan legislation gives those that currently conduct trade with North Korea a clear choice – either do business with this heinous outlaw regime or do business with the world’s leading economic and military power.”


“North Korea’s Fourth of July intercontinental ballistic missile test constitutes a new level of threat to U.S. national security and regional peace and stability that requires a firm response,” said Senator Menendez. “This provocative and destabilizing act has rightly been condemned by the United States and the international community and must serve only to further isolate North Korea. In that vein, the bill we are introducing today is a bipartisan effort that represents additional measures required to get our North Korea policy right. We seek to impose real consequences for those entities who, even after Kim Jong-un’s defiance and continued flagrant violations of international law, continue to do business and support his vicious regime. In light of Pyongyang’s continued determination to have a functional missile capable of reaching the United States topped with a nuclear warhead, I will continue to work with my colleagues in a bipartisan manner to seek effective measures to curtail North Korea’s dangerous and destabilizing behavior.”


On July 4, North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that demonstrated the capability of reaching the U.S. homeland. Two weeks prior to that, North Korea tested a rocket engine capable of carrying an intercontinental ballistic missile. In 2016, North Korea conducted two nuclear tests and 24 ballistic missile launches. This year, North Korea fired 17 missiles during 11 tests.


What this legislation does:

  • Requires the President to block all transactions that are property of the North Korean government, affiliates, or those that do significant business with North Korea.
  • Requires the President to block any entity or financial institution implicated in any significant trade in goods or services with North Korea from the U.S. financial system. Entities include the top 10 Chinese importers of goods from North Korea.
  • Requires the President to prohibit any goods made with North Korean labor from entering the United States and to impose sanctions of all entities implicated in North Korean labor trafficking. 


You can find the full text of the legislation here.