House approves tougher sanctions on North Korea

House of Representatives overwhelmingly approves legislation to tighten sanctions on North Korea.

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Ben Ariel,

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North Korean flag
Reuters

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday overwhelmingly approved legislation to tighten sanctions on North Korea, Reuters reports.

The sanctions target North Korea's shipping industry and companies that do business with the reclusive state.

They were approved by a 419 to 1 vote.

Supporters said the legislation was intended to send a strong message to North Korea, amid international concern over the escalation of its nuclear program.

The measure would have to be approved by the Senate before it could be sent to the White House for President Donald Trump to sign into law, noted Reuters.

The legislation comes amid continued provocations by North Korea. Last week, Pyongyang carried out yet another ballistic missile test, which appeared to have failed.

On April 16, North Korea attempted to launch a missile - but it blew up in the sea. Experts claim they may also have publicly displayed an ICBM during a parade marking the 105th birthday of North Korea's founder.

Earlier this week, the U.S. military's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system became operational in South Korea.

The United States and South Korea agreed last year to deploy THAAD in response to the threat of missile launches by North Korea.

North Korea's military has in the past threatened a "physical response" if the United States and South Korea deploy the advanced missile defense system to the Korean peninsula.