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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  February 10, 2016 12:00pm-2:01pm EST

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fourth test we have detected in north korea since 2006. this combination of incompetence, aggression, and defiance of the international community is dangerous and simply cannot stand. just yestee director of the national intelligence -- national intelligence james clapper testified it is likely north korea restarted the roorkt shuttered -- reactor since 2007 and could begin to recover fissile material within weeks. these defiant acts fly in the face of existing international sanctions and must be met with a strong and unified response from the world community. it is a step in the right direction that the u.n. security council has strongly condemned north korea's actions and vowed to adopt significant new punitive measures against the regime. however, the dangerous path
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north korea continues down today poses a direct threat to the united states and our allies, particularly south korea and japan. we must go further and take action to punish the north korean regime and those who aid and abet in its provocative actions. the legislation before us today would significantly enhance our ability to curb the north korean nuclear program. the bill requires the president to sanction anyone who knowingly supports the north korean regime, whether by if you are -- furnishing materials for north korea weapons program or by selling luxury goods to corrupt government officials while so many north koreans live in poverty. the bill also provides exemptions for humanitarian organizations that work to relieve the suffering of millions of north koreans. we must continue to let the people under the rule of this brutal regime know that we stand with them in their democratic
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aspirations, even as their government continues to threaten the international community. i commend the efforts of the foreign relations committee, and particularly senator menendez and gardner for their work on this important legislation. the united states has long led the world in working to curb the threat of nuclear proliferation. we toledo through -- we lead through sustained commitments such as spear heading the efforts to control loose nukes after the fall of the soviet union. we lead by precedents set in bilateral one, two, three agreements agreeing to share civilian nuclear technology so partner countries can diversify their energy mix while explicitly preventing them from enriching uranium on their own soil. in the years to come, our leadership is necessary to raise this global standard even higher for every country regarding the enrichment of uranium. we do not aim to deny peaceful nuclear energy to nations that
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seek it, but we must make clear that there is no universal right to enrichment. the united states has moral authority on this issue because we have led by example, committing to reductions in our own nuclear arsenal in the interest of a safer world. we must continue to work with unity of purpose and act to stem the spread of nuclear materials to rogue states and terrorist organizations. nowhere is american leadership more necessary than in the case of the iranian nuclear program. i was proud to cosponsor the initial effort to pass sanctions against iran in 2009 and help pass additional sanctions in the years since. i firmly believe that crippling sanctions are what brought iran to the negotiating table and the threat of additional sanctions enhanced our bargaining position during the painstaking negotiations that led to the jcpoa. our work to unite world powers behind this effort led to an
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agreement that curbs iran's nuclear program in the short term, but in the longer term we need to stand ready to act swiftly and decisively against any iran violations of the jcpoa , large or small. the jcpoa is not the end of our multilateral efforts against iran and its illicit behavior. just as the legislation before us today is not the end of our multilateral efforts against the north korean regime and its repeated affronts to international security. we will continue to punish regimes that support terrorism, violate human rights and illegally seek nuclear weapons. surely our response to the north korean provocations will be watched closely by the iranian regime, which is why we must respond swiftly and why we must respond strongly. the sanctions bill before us today is not a democratic issue. it is not a republican issue. the goal of preventing nuclear
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proliferation has been a uniting principle of the american foreign policy for decades, and it must continue to be so. we must come together today to pass this bill quickly and without opposition to demonstrate in no uncertain terms our unity of purpose in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the assistant majority leader. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i want to thank the senator from colorado, senator gardner, for his leadership on this issue together with the chairman of the foreign affairs committee, senator corker, for bringing us to this moment. and this is a rare bipartisan moment where the senate has come together and agreed to debate and vote and pass an important bill that imposes sanctions on one of the most dangerous regimes in the world. recently i was in hawaii at the
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pacific command and admiral harris, a four-star u.s. navy admiral who heads pacific command, we asked him to rank the areas of the world that he was most concerned about, the regimes that he thought represented the biggest danger to peace, and he listed north korea as number one. now that may be because of the proximity of his area of responsibility to north korea, but there's no question that an unstable leader with nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles is a threat not only to the region but to the united states as well. we know over the weekend north korea successfully launched a long-range rocket and put a satellite into orbit. this was done in defiance of sanctions and represents a dangerous trend of an increasingly hostile and unstable north korea. it was particularly alarming for
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several reasons. first, the same technology that put that satellite in orbit can be used to deliver a nuclear weapon. long range ballistic missiles have the potential to hit the united states homeland. that's why north korea has been considered a serious threat to our country, not just to the region but to our country as well. the timing of this launch was also very concerning because just last month north korea claimed that it had tested the components of a hydrogen bomb, a thermo nuclear weapon that is more powerful than an atomic bomb which we knew they had, but this represented an escalation if it is true. the idea that north korea could soon develop advanced nuclear weapons along with intercontinental ballistic missiles and could deliver them to our shores is a frightening proposition. unfortunately, every day we grow
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closer to that reality. i'll pause a minute to say this is another reason why our missile defense systems are so important not just to the safety of our friends and allies, but also to the united states increasingly. i know in colorado a lot of those efforts are headed up to provide that effective deterrent and missile defense system to the threat of intercontinental ballistic missiles. i have to be honest with you and say i'm just puzzled why the president hasn't done more on this issue to date. but while the president sits on the sidelines, i think somebody called it strategic patience, it's really been a failure, not just patience. patience i think of as a virtue but certainly not in this context. but nevertheless, the senate will do its part to make sure the regime and north korea feel some consequences for its belligerent illegal actions. today we'll vote on the north
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korean sanctions and policy enhancement act. this bill mandates new sanctions on north korea's nuclear and ballistic missile program, and importantly, it will provide an overall strategy to help address north koreans human rights abuses and combat its cyber activities. i don't think most people realize in addition to its belligerence and violating international norms, north korea is a serial human rights abuser. and literally because of its focus on its finances on military arms and its standing army, north korea has seen many, many, many of its people starve to death for lack of an adequate food supply. so this is a rogue regime. it's a dangerous regime and one we need to make sure feels the
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consequences of its actions. this bill will help hold north korea accountable, which is more than we've seen from the administration. i want to point out that north korea's provocative actions are just another symptom of the obama doctrine gone wrong. i mentioned strategic patience, which is hardly a strategy for keeping the world safe. but unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. through his words and deeds, the president continues to discredit and undercut american leadership around the world. and as a result, the world is even more unstable and conflict-ridden than when he assumed office. it is absolutely the fact that in the absence of american leadership, tyrants, thugs and bullies feel emboldened and our friends and allies question our loyalty and whether they can rely on us or whether they have to go it alone and build the
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capacity to defend themselves in the absence of a strong america. many recall that when he ran for office, the president heavily criticized the foreign policy choices of his predecessor, particularly the surge in iraq. i happened to be in the senate during that time. i remember those debates. the democratic leader, senator read, said the surge will never work. and many were skeptical because, frankly, it represented a bold dramatic move. not only did president obama's decision to hastily withdraw in iraq after the successful search, not only did his decision to hastily withdraw from iraq squander the hard-won progress achieved by the surge, that country is now one of a number of countries in the middle east in shambles. and we're seeing our friends and
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our allies together with american add advisors on the ground, special operations forces and train and assist mission, trying to regain control of cities like ramadi that were won as a result of the blood and the treasure of the united states. so just let's look at a few things where they stand today. over the past two years isis has captured city after city where american troops shed that blood, sweat, and tears to bring relative peace. the border that used to exist between syria and iraq is gone. it's been literally erased. and despite president obama's misguided nuclear deal with iran, iranian influence in iraq has grown, not waned. i do find it interesting, mr. president, that speaker after speaker, even though we're talking about north korea, is trying to come down here now and speak about iran.
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after having allowed the president's ill-advised nuclear deal go through which guarantees a pathway for iran to acquire nuclear weapons. as a result of the administration's paralysis, syria too has plunged deeper and deeper into chaos. now we not only have a security problem on our hands, we have millions of syrian and iraqi refugees internally displaced are flooding across international borders into places like turkey, jordan, lebanon and europe. i visited some of those refugee camps in turkey and jordan. these people are doing what we all would do. they are fleeing for their survival. because, frankly, once the president drew that red line in syria when it came to the use of illegal weapons, the president never did anything to enforce it or make sure that bashar
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al-assad felt, suffered any consequences. so the president's inaction time after time, place after place, has real consequences. the vacuum left as a result of the u.s. retreat has opened the door for other countries to expand their influence there as we have seen and as we continue to see on a daily basis. russia is the prime example. it continues to extend its influence through indiscriminate bombing campaigns that reveal little regard for civilian lives. the russian bombing campaign dpont -- doesn't distinguish between combatants and civilians. russian forces are even actively fighting against american-backed groups and working to undermine them at every turn. but of course this doesn't even touch on russia's aggressive actions along its own border with respect to the ukraine in
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nato's backyard. unfortunately, russia has no reason to believe that the united states, under the current leadership of the commander in chief, will challenge it anywhere, not in the middle east, not in europe. i could go on and on about other countries that are feeling emboldened like a belligerent china in the south china sea, or as i mentioned a moment ago a newly financed and emboldened iran. number one state sponsor of international terrorism. when the administration basically wrote a check for $50 billion to iran with which secretary kerry, vice president biden and others acknowledged could be used to finance international terrorism, it seemed to be -- to have no impact whatsoever because they were so determined to cut this
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bad deal with iran. so the point is that our retreat, our lack of leadership around the world only underscores the president's lack of a larger foreign policy strategy. we've asked him time and time again, please tell us what your strategy is. the president sends over a proposed authorization for the use of military force against isis. we find out that the real reason he did that is not because he thinks he lacks authorities to do what he is doing now but because they want to tie the hands of future presidents in terms of what that president could do under that authorization for the use of military force. but we keep asking and all we hear is crickets. silence. we keep asking for a serious
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comprehensive strategy to guide the foreign policy and national security efforts of the united states. and the president simply doesn't feel like it's his obligation to deliver one. opting instead for tactics that are guaranteed not to win, saying we bomb isis. well, that's all well and fine, but at some point once you bomb isis, unless you have somebody who can occupy that territory, then the terrorists are going to come right back in. and we have friends and allies like the kurds, like other countries in the middle east who said we will help be the boots on the ground if you will help supply us, to which they are not provided any sort of answer. so i believe that the american people do deserve better, and the men and women in uniform
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have put their lives on the -- who have put their lives on the line deserve better. they deserve a strategy, they deserve the support to be able to accomplish the mission that their country has asked them to accomplish. so i'm glad in the absence of leadership from the white house that the congress has decided to take up some of the slack here, to fill the gap left by the president's inattention to this important issue. if the president won't step up to the plate and take these threats seriously enough to come up with a strategy to actually defeat them, the american people can trust the united states senate to address that, and we will do so today on a bipartisan basis insofar as it applies to the threat in north korea. so it's my hope that we will send a strong bipartisan message
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to north korea that their repeated provocations will not go unanswered. mr. president, i'd like to change subjects here briefly just to comment on important matter. i just came from the senate judiciary committee hearing which was one of the most unusual hearings that i have attended since the time i have been in the senate, certainly on the judiciary committee. usually on the judiciary committee, the habit is for the majority to select witnesses and then the minority gets to select witnesses and then witnesses come out and are proxy fighters for the particular policy differences that members of the committee have, not today. today, thanks to chairman grassley, the senior senator from iowa, the judiciary committee had a consensus panel on the subject of mental health and its intersection with our criminal justice system. what we heard was increasingly our jails and our prisons, our
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criminal justice system and the homeless that we see on our streets are a product of a failed policy, one that said yes, we need to move people out of institutions, out of hospitals, but of course the promise or at least the hope was that they would have somewhere else to go to get treatment for housing and the like, and today what we heard reaffirmed from the sheriff of bexar county, texas, san antonio, my hometown and so many of the other witnesses from across the country, is that now our jails and our prisons and the criminal justice system have becomede facto warehouses for the mentally ill. completely ill suited to deal with what they need, which is treatment and supervision and help and the families, too, who need additional tools available for them to turn to when they need help with a loved one who
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has become mentally ill. so i have introduced some legislation, we talked about it a little bit during the hearing today called the mental health and disabilities act modeled off the successful experiments and programs at places like north carolina that we've heard from before, san antonio and virginia and elsewhere. there are i'm sure a number of good stories, but this is the way i think that congress ought to legislate. rather than to dream up here behind closed doors some grand scheme, the masters of the universe trying to decide what's good for all 320 million of us in a one-size-fits-all approach, rather than do that because we've seen the disastrous consequences of that sort of thinking, let's look at what it actually has proven to work in our cities, in our counties, in our states and then scale that up, where appropriate, to apply
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more broadly. after we have proven that it actually works. that's what my legislation, the mental health and safe communities act, is designed to do. as we look, as we will tomorrow -- i believe it's tomorrow at the judiciary committee at the opioid and heroin crisis that's being experienced in so many parts of our country, as we look as we have at reforming our prison systems to provide more incentives for people who are low risk and mid level offenders, if they will accept the opportunity to help themselves to deal with their underlying drug or alcohol problem, to learn a skill, to get a g.e.d., to better prepare for life on the outside, we can actually -- based on experience in texas and elsewhere, we can actually lower crime rates, lower recidivism rates and save taxpayers a lot of money. so whether it's dealing with the
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mental health issue and its intersection with the criminal justice system, dealing with our prison system, which used to believe that rehabilitation was an important part of what their obligation was, for dealing with this opioid and heroin abuse, we have a lot to do to make sure that our criminal justice system is brought into the 21st century and that we will no longer punish people who mainly need help. there certainly i believe is somebody who is a recovering member of the texas judiciary for 13 years, believe that there are some people who you can't help and who you must punish, but there is a large segment of people, whether it's drug or alcohol-related or whether it's mental health issues, that will accept our help and will turn their lives around given that opportunity. so that's -- i just wanted to say a few words about that
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because i feel so strongly about the importance of what we talked about at that hearing. finally, before i turn to the distinguished senator from the great state of maryland, mr. president, i have eight unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. this has been approved by the majority and minority leaders. i'd ask consent that these requests be agreed to and be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: first, let me thank my friend from texas for the work he is doing on the judiciary committee. i hope we can continue that bipartisan spirit to deal with addiction, to deal with i hope improvements in the criminal justice system, providing resources to people who have addiction needs. i know there is a strong bipartisan effort to deal with community mental health that we can get services in our community. this is not a partisan issue, and i'm glad to see the work in the judiciary committee is
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productive and trying to lead to those conclusions. i do want to, though, comment a little bit on what was said in regards to the obama administration. we are here together with a bill on north korea that is not partisan at all. democrats and republicans are working together. there is no division between congress and the white house. we all believe that we have to isolate north korea and its conduct. the administration has b b b acd nations, keeping us closely informed, and we very much want to work with a strong united voice. that's how we keep our country the strongest, and that's what we should do in national security. so let me just try to fill in the record a little bit from the previous comments made about the obama administration. let us remember the obama administration took over after, i would say, a failed policy in the middle east in which we went into afghanistan, as we should have, because of the attack on
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our country, but before completing afghanistan, the previous administration went into iraq, using our military first rather than looking for a solution that would provide the type of stability in that region to prevent the straight ahead of radicalization. instead, governments were formed that then represent all of the communities and we saw splinter groups form and the regriewtment for extreme elements. president obama was able to develop international coalitions to work together. i think america is always best when we lead and we can be joined by the international community. the president also understood it shouldn't be up to americans' military to solve all the problems and that there is not a military solution to the spread of radicalization, that we need to have as far as internal support in the countries must come from the country itself, that we do not want to be seen as a conquering power. this is for the region to defend
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itself. yes, we will help, but we are not going to put our ground troops in a situation where they are used as a recruitment for the -- for the radical forces. and we also understand that america leads best when we can get our ideals of good governance, with governments that represent all the communities so there is no void. and president obama and his administration has been very strong in those areas. in regards to dealing with isil, the radical forces that exist today, a policy is well understood, cut off their support. cut off their support in regards to the representative governments, cut off their support by dealing with the oil supplies and their looting and their extortion. cut off their support by taking back territory in a way that we can control that territory, and that's what we have seen happening, certainly in the last several months as territory that was formally held by isil now being held by governments of
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iraq particularly but also syria. so i just really wanted to come to correct, i thought, on this day where we're bringing up the north korea bill, where every president since the korean war has had challenges in dealing with the problems in north korea, where we are together on this issue as a congress and as a nation to isolate north korea. it's not just their nuclear weapon program. it's their cyber attacks, the human rights violations, all those issues that we speak with a very strong voice today, and i hope in fact the democrats, republicans, house, senate, president, congress speak with a strong, unified voice that america's national security interests would be better served. with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor.
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mr. gardner: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. gardner: thank you, mr. president. throughout this debate, we continue to remind people around america that this north korea sanctions act is not intended tf north korea, of our efforts to try to help make sure that we are doing everything we can to stand up for the people of north korea to give them the kind of economic opportunity and freedoms that they have been deprived by this regime under kim jong-un, but today's sanctions act, mandatory sanctions that were levied here today by this -- by this act if adopted, approved and signed by
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the president, which i believe it will be with the overwhelming bipartisan support that it has, this is about the kim jong-un regime itself. this is about a forgotten maniac in north korea who has deprived his people of economic opportunity, who has imprisoned 200,000 men, women and children, who has tortured his people, who has assassinated members of his own inner circle leadership, and just today in the morning papers, an article outlined the death of his chief of staff of the army. again, the continued purge of top-level officials under the kim jong-un regime. you can see the situation the people of north korea are facing each and every day. this is a satellite image of the korean peninsula at nighttime. you can see developments in south korea. you can see seoul korea, people who live across the d.m.z. you can see an economy that failed, failed to give them the same kinds of opportunities that other people in the korean
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peninsula are sharing. but this bill also promotes human rights and i want to point out section 301. section 301, this section requires the president to study the feasibility of bringing unmonitored and inexpensive cellular and internet communications to the people of north korea, trying to break through the emptiness of north korea, communication barriers, trying to get around the regime of north korea that doesn't want the people of north korea to understand they can live a better life. section 302 directs the secretary of state to develop a strategy to combat forced labor practices including a diplomatic outreach plan and public diplomacy awareness campaign, what we can do together to try to bring awareness to north koreans. let them know that if they have family members in south korea, what kind of opportunities people of south korea are sharing. it wasn't that long ago, just a few decades ago where north korea actually had a more vibrant economy than south
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korea. that's certainly not the case today. if you stand on this line, if you stand on the d.m.z. and you look north into north korea and you see the hillsides that have been completely deforested, all the vegetation removed because people lacked food in north korea, so they cut down the trees and created wood soup so they would have something to fill their stomachs because the north korean regime of kim jong-un has failed to do so. and you look at the south, you can see the hills, vegetation, development, prosperity. and we can help bring peace to the peninsula with passage of this act today. senator menendez has come to the floor today, my colleague from new jersey, who has been a great leader when it comes to north korea, a great leader when it comes to the issue of human rights and who has worked with me on this legislation. i worked with him to make sure that we create a bipartisan
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solution to this great challenge that is north korea today. i want to commend again senator menendez for the work and the opportunity to present a bipartisan solution before the united states senate today. and with that, mr. president, i will yield back and listen to the words of senator menendez. mr. menendez: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, let me first start off by thanking the leadership of the senate foreign relations committee, senator corker, its chairman; and ranking member cardin, for creating the environment to have strong bipartisan legislation on a critical issue that affects the national interest and security of the united states. and beyond that, in general creating a strong bipartisan environment that i think is critical to u.s. foreign policy. it's a tone i try to set when i had the privilege of being the chairman and senator corker was
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then the ranking member. and i appreciate his leadership in continuing in the same spirit. and of course senator cardin who works very hard on maintaining that environment. so i appreciate that they created the wherewithal to bring us here today. i want to thank senator gardner for, as the asia subcommittee chairman, for working with me to bring legislation that we can come together in a strong bipartisan voice, because when the nation speaks with one voice, it speaks most powerfully to both friend and foes across the world. it's been a privilege to work with senator gardner and see his vision of how we dealt with it and my vision. together we come with the most comprehensive effort to deal with north korea. i want to salute him and i want to thank him for working with
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me. mr. president, giving the north korean regime's recent tests of what most agree is a ballistic missile, what u.n. secretary of state ban ki-moon characterized as deeply deplorable and in violation of security council resolutions, one thing is abundantly clear when you look at this photograph, it's time to take north korea seriously. seriously. for too many years the standard response of republican and democratic administrations alike, whenever north korea stages a provocation, has been to dismiss the seriousness of the threat. we tend to see it as a strange regime, seemingly disconnected from geopolitical reality, something of a parallel universe that doesn't function in the same way as the rest of the international community. a strange regime run by crazy leaders and certain to collapse any day, that there's no need to
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worry, it can't survive. well, four nuclear tests, three kims, two violations of u.n. security counsel resolutions and one attempt by north korea to transfer nuclear technology to syria later, it's clearly time for the united states to start taking the north korea challenge seriously. in fact, today it is estimated that north korea has accumulated enough fissile material for more than a dozen nuclear weapons. it has now conducted four nuclear explosive tests, you can see from this chart starting inning october of 2006, and with it the quake magnitude rising with virtually every test. it has developed a modern gas centrifuge uranium enrichment program to go along with its plutonium stockpile.
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it has tested ballistic missiles, and it is seeking to develop the capability to match a nuclear warhead to an intercontinental ballistic missile. kim jong-un has consolidated his grip on power, and he seems determined to proceed on a course of a policy that strengthens military and the economy as opposed to strengthen one or the other. taken together, these developments present a growing danger that could set north korea on a path to becoming a small nuclear power, a scenario which could also lead other nations in the region to reconsider their own commitments to nonproliferation. and he could embolden north korea in its relations with other bad actors like syria and iran. now, i know it has been referenced, but i think it's worthy that when the director of
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national intelligence, the person in charge of amassing all of our intelligence as a country, james clapper, in testimony before the armed services committee says the following, it's worth repeating. north korea's export of ballistic missiles and associated materials to several countries including iran and syria and it's insistence of a reactor destroyed in 2007 illustrates its willingness to proliferate dangerous technologies. director clapper went on to say that following north korea's third nuclear test, pyongyang said it would refurbish and restart its nuclear facilities to include the uranium enrichment facility at yongbyon. it followed through by expanding its yongbyon enrichment facility and restarting the plutonium
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reactor which has been on line long enough to begin recovering plutonium from spent fuels within weeks or maybe months. he told the committee -- and i quote -- "pyongyang is also committed to developing a long-range nuclear arms missile that is capable of posing a direct threat to the united states. it has publicly displayed its kn-08 road mobile ic8 on many occasions. we assess, the director of intelligence saying, we assess north korea has taken initial steps towards fielding this system. close quote. finally, mr. president, according to the director of national intelligence,s i quote again, "north korea probably remains capable and willing to launch disruptive or destructive cyber attacks to support its political objectives. now, those it hasn't received the attention it deserved during today's debate, the
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gardner-menendez substitute addresses the cybersecurity threat with robust sanctions against those who control north korea's cyber warfare apparatus. so, mr. president, the adoption of the gardner-menendez legislation creates a new policy framework that combines effective sanctions and effective military countermeasures that can stop north korea's nuclear ambitions, and bring some sanity back to the political calculus, a new policy framework that leaves no doubt about our determination to neutralize any threat north korea may present with robust, realistic diplomacy towards the clear goal of a denuclearized korean peninsula. this bipartisan bill approved unanimously by the senate foreign relations committee in january expands and tightens enforcement of sanctions for north korea's nuclear and ballistic missile development
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and other destructive activities of the kim regime. it requires the president to investigate sanctionable conduct, including proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, arms-related materials, luxury goods, human rights abuses, activities undermining cybersecurity and the provision of industrial materials like precious metals or coal for use in a tailored set of activities, including weapons of mass destruction, proliferation activities or for use in prison and labor camps. under our substitute, the president is mandated to sanction any person found to have materially contributed to or engaged in or facilitated any of those above activities. penalties would include the seizure of assets in denial of government contracts. to provide flexibility, we have ensured this and future administrations retain the
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discretionary authority to sanction any entity or person transferring or facilitating the transfer of financial assets and the property of the north korean regime. the bill also requires the secretary of the treasury to determine whether north korea is a primary money laundering concern. and if such a determination is made, assets may be blocked and special measures applied against those involved. from a strategic perspective, the bill would promote a strategy to improve implementation and enforcement of multilateral sanctions, a strategy to combat north korea cyber activities and a strategy to promote and encourage international engagement on north korean human rights-related issues. there are reporting requirements related to these strategies as well as to report on political prison camps and a feasibility study on providing
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communications equipment to the people of north korea so we can permeate the opportunity for information to flow to the people of north korea. and last but not least, under the gardner-menendez substitute, the state department is required to expand the scope and frequency of travel warnings for north korea. now that's what we think about most of the time when we think about north korea, but there is a whole other dimension beyond nuclear challenges, missile challenges, proliferations of weapons of mass destruction, and that is the concerns that remain serious unanswered questions about human rights and the lot of the north korean people. we only read the headlines like the one on this chart, life in a north korean labor camp: no thinking, just fear. kim's former bodyguard tells of
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beatings, starvation in north korean prison camp. north korea's prison camp is one of the most evil places on earth: home to 20,000. 20,000 people. under the rule of kim jong-un, north korea is one of the most harshly repressive countries in the world, all basic freedoms have been severely restricted under the kim family's political dynasty. a 2014 u.n. commission of inquiry found that abuses in north korea were without parallel in any other country. extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and unspeakable sexual violence are part of the ongoing story of this bizarre regime. we know that north korea operates a series of secretive
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prison camps where opponents of the government are sent, tortured, abused, starved on insufficient rations and forced into hard labor. collective punishment is used to silence dissent and instill fear in the north korean peer that they could be next. the country has no independent media, they have no functioning civil society, and there is of course not even a hint of religious freedom except for the bizarre worship of the line from which kim jong-un hails. that is the reality. making it abundantly clear that although security concerns may be our most important priority on the peninsula, they are not and should not be our only priority. the legislation we are proposing creates for the first time the basis in law to designate and sanction north korea for its human rights violations.
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such sanctions would elevate human rights and the fundamental issue of human dignity to be as important as nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. at the end of the day, there is no basis for successfully dealing with the north absent a solid foundation for a policy that is rooted in the u.s.-south korea alliance. i have visited south korea and met with president park, someone we can easily consult with and work closely with to chart out a future course in dealing with north korea. and our partnership will depend since new opportunities for building a more effective approach to dealing with pyongyang. whatever one's views on the various u.s. policy efforts of the past two decades, what has worked, what has not worked and why, there can be little question that these efforts have failed to end north korea's nuclear ambitions or end its missile programs.
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they have failed to reduce the threat posed by north korea to our allies, failed to alleviate the suffering of north korea's people and failed to lead to greater security in the region. now, let me be clear. i have no illusions that there are easy answers when it comes to dealing with a regime like north korea, but with the passage of this legislation, we have acted in concert not only in a bipartisan effort but with our values. we will have established a policy for dealing with an unpredictable rogue regime equal to the challenge, and i urge of this body a unanimous vote, because it's not enough to condemn north korea's latest provocation, which is by all accounts a violation of u.n. security council resolutions and international will. it is not enough to convene the united nations security council for another round of hollow
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rhetoric that does nothing to the kim regime but signal a lack of international commitment to enforcing international will. it is not enough to do what we have always done and minimize the obvious threat from a rogue state living in its own false reality. as the co-author of sanctions that brought iran to the negotiating table, i know that the sanctions regime we are structuring here can have a real effect. those who want to deal with north korea and north korea's pursuit of missile technology and nuclear weapons will see a consequence to them far beyond north korea. with this bipartisan legislation, we have before us a series of meaningful steps that speak the only language north korea's regime can understand -- aggressive, material consequences for aggressive,
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reckless provocations. this legislation is the most comprehensive strategy to deal with the challenge that north korea presents. a launch over the weekend and recent nuclear tests makes it clear that when i introduced this bill last year, it was timely then. we didn't get to act on it then, but we can do so now. i urge the senate, i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to unanimously pass the north korea sanctions and policy enforcement act. i urge our colleagues in the other chamber to concur, and i look forward to the president quickly signing this legislation into law. and if the international community is serious about meeting the threat that north korea poses, we should see measures like this act adopted by the united nations and implemented by all its member states. the international community should stand together with a single voice and one clear message -- any provocation will be met with consequences that
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will shake the kim regime to its foundations. that's the opportunity we have to set the course here today in the senate. that's, i think, one of the most powerful moments when the senate acts in a strong bipartisan fashion that sends a message that will create a ripple effect, not only here but across the world. and so i look forward to what i hope will be an incredibly robust if not unanimous vote on this legislation. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: mr. president, i'd like to thank senator gardner and chairman corker for their leadership and their tireless efforts within the foreign relations committee in dealing with the national security challenges posed by north korea. as a member of the senate armed
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services committee, i periodically receive intelligence briefings on north korea's military capacity and the political will of north korea's leaders to threaten the united states and our interests abroad. based on these briefings and the extensive intelligence informing them, i believe we need to embrace an all of the above approach to confront north korea's continued development of ballistic missile, nuclear and cyber technologies. these threats have become too serious to ignore and far too complex to confront with anything short of a coordinated strategy that's prepared to employ the full force of the united states government, including all of our diplomatic intelligence, economic and military resources. as americans, it can be easy for us to forget just how lucky we are to live in a free and open
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society. most of us, myself included, simply have no idea what it's like to live under a totalitarian regime like the one that has kept north koreans in a state of impoverished servitude, cut off from the rest of the world for generations. but every so often, the mask slips, and there's an event that gives the world a clue about what can happen when a nation state operates and tries behind a veil of mystery and secrecy. for me and many of my fellow utahans, one of these clues came nearly 12 years ago when a young man from utah suddenly went missing in southern china. in august, 2004, david lewis snedden, disappeared while
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hiking in the yunan province of china. he was 24 years old at the time, a student at brigham young university in provo, utah. after having spent his summer studying mandarin in beijing, david wrote to his family about his plans to hike the scenic tiger leaping gorge along the ginjou river in southern china. that was the last time david's family would ever hear from him. his passport and his credit cards were never used again. they were never seen again. david snedden was never seen again. what happened to david snedden, who is, to my knowledge, the first american since the 1970's to go missing in china without an explanation, what happened to him? how can a young man, who is skilled in a country's language and knowledgeable of its culture, simply vanish without a trace? these questions have answers, mr. president, but for more than
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a decade, david's family members, friends and loved ones, as well as regional experts, reporters and embassy personnel, have searched for those answers in vain. for their part, local authorities point to the ginjou river for answers. they contend that the lack of physical evidence surrounding david's disappearance could indicate that he fell and was swept away by the river, despite the fact that his body was never found. while it's certainly possible for that to happen to an unsuspecting tourist hiking on unfamiliar terrain, david was not a novice outdoorsman, by any stretch of that word. he was an eagle scout and an avid hiker who had years of experience trekking over rugged landscapes across the american west. in recent years, investigative reporters and regional experts have suggested an alternative
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explanation of david's disappearance. for instance, on april 25, 2013, melanie kirkpatrick, a senior fellow at the hudson institute and a well-regarded expert on north korea, wrote an excellent article in "the wall street journal," which i ask unanimous consent to be entered into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lee: kirkpatrick's research shows that david's disappearance in china fits the pattern of four national kidnappings by north korea in east asia since the 1970's. while this might sound strange to americans -- because it is indeed strange to us as americans -- it is an issue with which the people of japan and south korea are tragically all too familiar. the circumstances of david's disappearance add a level of credibility to this theory.
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for instance, the area where david was traveling was a well-known thoroughfare on an underground railroad for north korean dissidents trying to escape to southeast asia. as a result, this area is monitored and patrolled by north korean government agents who are involved in the capture of a high-level north korean defector and his family in the area only months before august, '04. david was fluent in korean, thanks to having spent two years serving a mission for the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints in south korea, so he matched the profile of activists in this area who were thought to be assisting north korean escapeees. and in a coincidental twist of fate, david disappeared only a month after charles robert jenkins, an army deserter, was released by the north korean
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government after having spent nearly 40 years in prison in the totalitarian state, forced to teach english to north korean intelligence agents. an american who spoke fluent korean would be an attractive replacement for charles jenkins. three weeks after his disappearance, david's father and two of his four brothers traveled to china and retraced david's planned steps through the leaping tiger gorge. the results of their fact-finding mission, including their conversations with local residents and businesses, tour guides and travelers, have been shared with the state department and detailed in an excellent piece by chris vogel published in "outside" magazine in 2014. one of the most compelling pieces of evidence discovered by david's father and brothers is that several people, including a
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trail guide who had been hiking the tiger leaping gorge around the time of his disappearance, remembered interacting with a young man fitting david sneddon's description. david's family also met with the owner of a small korean restaurant in the city of shangri-la, a bustling tourist outpost with convenient access to the tiger leaping gorge. when she saw a photograph of david, the young restaurant owner lit up. she immediately remembered david, and for good reason. not only did david stand out because of his fluency in korean, but he reportedly visited the restaurant on three separate occasions over the course of two days while he was in that city. indeed, according to the "outside" magazine article, the last time anyone saw david on august 14, '04, he was
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reportedly leaving a korean restaurant. at first glance, this may seem like a minor detail, but seen in the right light, it is, in fact, an ominous clue. according to many regional experts, there is a historical pattern of north korean agents using korean-run restaurants in china, japan and elsewhere to prey their targets -- prey on their targets for kidnapping and abduction. despite these reports, there have been no further or more fruitful leads regarding david's whereabouts. people move away or changed their stories. embassy and state department staff moved to different assignments, and the trail grows cold. mr. president, for nearly 12 years, we have been looking for david. along with his family, there are many people who deserve credit for the contributions they have made to this effort.
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in particular, i'd like to thank ambassador robert king, the special envoy for north korean human rights issues and a long-time personal friend of mine, as well as his office for the attention they have given to david's case and the good-faith efforts they've made over the years to try to find answers. i commend ambassador king for his work on this complex and sensitive, very important issue. but there is still work yet to be done. an upstanding american citizen is still missing, and an aggrieved family, indeed an entire community continues to wait and pray for a resolution which is what brings us here today. mr. president, the first and most important responsibility of the united states government is to ensure the safety and freedom of the american people at home and abroad.
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when american citizens travel overseas, the state department plays a critical role in fulfilling this core constitutional duty. the amendment i'm filing today, which i plan to submit, is a stand-alone resolution with senators hatch, fishcher and sasse gives the sense of the senate that the state department in conjunction with the intelligence community should continue to fulfill that obligation to david sneddon and his family. a companion bill will be introduced in the house of representatives by my friend, comang -- congressman chris stewart and the rest of the utah delegation. the state department's responsibilities in this matter including investigating all plausible reason behind his disappearance, at the time of his disappearance, david had his whole life ahead of him and in
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fact he was already planning for it. before setting out to hike the tiger leaping gorge on that fateful day in august of 2004, david had signed up to take the law school admissions test, the first step toward applying to law school. he had arranged business meetings back home in utah to get an early start on pursuing his dreams of entrepreneurship. and eager to get back to b.y.u.'s beautiful campus, he had already paid for his student housing for the upcoming fall semester. but he never had the chance to do any of those things, and the sneddon family deserves to know why. mr. president, the greatest threat to totalitarian regimes in any part of the world is the truth. that the world may learn of the horrors they perpetrate every day against their own people and that their people may learn that there is a world full of freedom
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and opportunity beyond the ironclad borders of their enslaved homeland, it is in pursuit of the truth about david sneddon's whereabouts that i file this amendment today. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. wyden: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: i ask unanimous consent to vacate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wyden: mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business for up to 20 minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. wyden: mr. president, i
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ask unanimous consent that jeremy lodge lee, a law clerk on the finance committee, be granted floor privileges for the duration of the week. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wyden: mr. president, i rise this afternoon to speak about a matter that will come before the senate tomorrow when the senate votes on whether or not to invoke cloture on the customs and trade enforcement conference report. last year, mr. president, democrats and republicans in both chambers of the congress came together and said it was time for a fresh policy on international trade, a fresh modern policy that i describe as trade done right. at the heart of trade done right is a tougher, smarter plan to fight the trade cheats who are ripping off american jobs.
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now, the inventiveness of these rip-off artists takes your breath away, and it's something i know a fair amount about because a few years back, as chairman of the trade subcommittee, we put together a sting operation. and in effect invited those rip-off artists from around the world to cheat, and we were just flooded, flooded with those who were interested in skirting the laws. they have extraordinarily inventive ways of moving their operations, concealing their identities and shipping their products into our country through shadowy, untraceable routes sometimes sneaking illegal imports into this country is as simple as slapping
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a new label on a box. we call it merchandise laundering, and we saw it again and again and again as we conducted this sting operation. so it is long past time to come up with a new and tough approach to enforcing our trade laws, and that, in my view, is what this debate's about. and that's what the vote will be about tomorrow. now, the lingo of trade policy as we call it, t.p.a., the trade promotion authority, one of the rules for trade. and then the various agreements, what of course is being considered now, the trans-pacific partnership. it's hard to keep track of this lingo under the best of circumstances, so i think in beginning this discussion what i want to note for the senate is
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this is not -- not about the consideration of a new trade agreement. no trade agreement, no new trade agreement is going to be considered by the united states senate this week. what this debate is about is whether or not the senate is going to put in place tougher, smarter, more modern trade enforcement policies. and when we have these policies, actually follow up on this and stand up to anybody around the world who is trying to figure out a way to get around them. and my view is tough, smart trade enforcement ought to be a priority for every senator, no matter how they choose to vote on a particular new trade
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agreement. my bottom line here is that past trade policies were too old, too slow or too weak to keep up with the trade cheats. but that's what this legislation is going to change. this legislation says those days are over. and i'd like to take just a few minutes to describe why i believe, mr. president, this package we will vote on is the strongest set of trade enforcement policies that the congress has considered in decades. at its core, what trade law enforcement is all about is rooting out the universe, the universe of scofflaw tactics that the cheats rely on. they use fraudulent records and shell games and sophisticated
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schemes to evade duties and undercut our american producers. foreign governments bully american business into relocating factories and jobs or turning over lucrative intellectual property. they spy on american companies and trade enforcers, steal secrets and then they lie about it in the aftermath. and they try to undercut american industries so quickly that our nation has been unable to act before the economic damage is done. with the vote that we are going to cast this week, we have an opportunity to say strongly and loudly that we are done sitting back and just watching our companies get their clock cleaned by trade cheats. this country is going to take trade enforcement to a new level
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to protect workers and businesses in oregon and nationwide. my view is the center of this effort is the enforce act, which goes after what i consider to be one of the biggest of the trade loopholes, and that is merchandise laundering. this is a proposal, mr. president, that a number of senators have worked for years, for years to get enacted. what it will do is put a stop to the evasion of duties that are put in place to protect our workers, protect our manufacturers and particularly when it comes to the steel industry. a pillar of american industry and the enforce act ought to be understood to be clearly, clearly a priority matter for those who work in the steel
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industry and the companies that they work at. second, the legislation once and for all closes a truly offensive loophole that allowed products made with slave and child labor to be imported to the united states. my friend, senator brown, has championed this issue. he and i believe that in 2016 and beyond that congress cannot allow for the perpetrators of slave or child labor to have anyplace in the american economy. so the old system that leaves the door open to child or slave labor if it's used to make a product that isn't made here in the united states, that system has to end. and with this legislation, it will. mr. president, the old system essentially said that when it
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came to child labor, in the past economics would trump human rights. that economics just mattered more than protecting vulnerable children. and senator brown said no way. that is a grotesque set of priorities. and we closed that loophole. closed once and for all. another major upgrade in this trade package is what i call an unfair trade alert. i have heard for years and years from union leaders, from companies and others that the trade cheats often try to exploit the fact that trade law enforcement moves along at a snail's pace. what happens is the rip-off artists break the rules. they hope the damage is going to be done before anybody in washington catches on.
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that way the factory lights go out at the plant and the plant is shuttered before our country does anything about it. what we have done with this new, unfair trade alert system is ensured that there are going to be warning bells going off long before the damage is done. next, the package includes an important initiative from senator stabenow to mobilize the institutions of government into a permanent ongoing trade enforcement center so that we have all hands on deck to fight the trade cheats, and with senator stabenow's proposal, we're going to make sure that when it comes to fighting the trade cheats, the left hand and the right hand are working in concert. the package creates a new trust fund for trade enforcement. this was developed by senator cantwell to drive america's
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investment in fresh ideas and do it in a way that will help protect our workers and our businesses. the proposal also ensures that small businesses and their employees are going to be able to find an easier path into the winner circle on international trade. it's going to lower the cost for a lot of small businesses in oregon and nationwide that import products to our country. in my home state, this effort, led by senator shaheen, who has done great work on the small business committee, this effort is hugely important because in my state, when you're done counting the handful of big businesses, you've covered the big employers in our state; we are overwhelmingly about small business. and because of the good work of senator shaheen, we are going to
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give small businesses more tools they can use to reach new markets overseas. and it's going to help guarantee that all our trade agencies are looking for opportunities to help small businesses grow. and, mr. president, i could go on with others. i think senator feinstein has done very, very important work. for example, we've been looking for a model, a model for trade-based humanitarian assistance. i think senator feinstein's contribution has helped us secure that goal, and i appreciate greatly her leadership. now, when it comes to trade policies, environmental protections are a special priority for me and for oregonians, and i believe for the american people. so i want one judgment about
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this bill to be very clear as we start this debate. this legislation cannot and will not in any way prevent the united states from negotiating a climate agreement. not only that but the package tackles some particularly important environmental issues head-on. it directs our trade negotiators to act against illegal fishing and fishing subsidies that destroy our oceans, and it's going to help guarantee that the customs personnel are better-trained to fight the trade of stolen timber from places like the amazon. these are big improvements over the old playbook of trade enforcement. now, many senators on both sides of the aisle are very concerned about currency manipulation. in the process of bringing this
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bipartisan, bicameral package together, it was clear that there were some differences between the senate and the other body on this legislation and that the other body was willing to go only so far on currency questions. when senators vote -- and i know currency is important to them -- i hope that they will reflect on the view that i'm going to articulate; and that is, this legislation goes further than ever before to fight the currency manipulators. and one of the major reasons it does it is because of our colleague, senator bennet. senator bennet has been working with all sides diligently on this issue, and i think he has clearly given us a policy that we can build on in the years and days ahead.
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i intend to work with senator bennet and all of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle at every opportunity to head off the currency manipulators, stop them from undercutting american jobs and american businesses, and there is no question in my mind that this legislation goes significantly further than ever before to fight currency abuse and manipulation. now, it's been my judgment for years that a more progressive approach to trade and stronger trade enforcement are two sides of the same coin. last year the senate said loudly and clearly that future trade deals have to raise the bar for american priorities, such as labor rights, environmental protection. and because of senator cardin, we will now have a new focus on
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human rights. now the senate has an opportunity to stand up for workers and businesses in oregon and across the country by kicking the enforcement of trade law into high gear. my view is that this landmark trade enforcement proposal ought to have strong bipartisan support. also included in the conference report, mr. president, is a permanent extension of one of the most popular economic policies on the books today, the internet tax freedom act. former congressman chris conform and i introduced this -- chris cox and i introduced this bill back in 1998, and for nearly two decades, mr. president, what this legislation did is it protected working families especially against regressive
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taxes on internet access. that was who we always thought was the focus of this bill, working families, families that use the net, for example, to get information about employment opportunities, educational opportunities. they shouldn't face a wave of new regressive, you know, taxes. and, clearly, ensuring that they don't get hit by these regressive taxes has saved our working families and our small businesses hundreds of dollars a year. but for all that time, this has been a kind of temporary stop-and-go policy that required it just be renewed again and again and again and again. so my hope is, as senators look at a bill that, in my view, is the toughest trade enforcement
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law in decades and really moves to a very new approach that i call "trade done right," i hope senators will see that this legislation also ensures that working families and senior citizens and others of modest means don't get hit by this big, regressive tax simply when they want to access, you know, the internet. access the internet for the kind of information so important to them, given a modest income and their desire to get ahead. and with this legislation and its extension running out this year, it's important for the senate to act now so that you don't have a situation again at the end of the year with the
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prospect of the internet tax freedom act expiring and working families getting hit with these regressive taxes. so i urge senators to support this proposal. there's been an awful lot of work done by senators on both sides of the aisle to advance this legislation. i'm particularly grateful to our colleagues on the finance committee that i have the honor to serve on, and i close simply by saying to colleagues, this is not about a new trade agreement. it is not exactly an atomic secret. there are pretty strong differences of opinion about new trade agreements here in this body. this is about whether we're going to get tough with the trade cheats who are ripping off american jobs, and this
quote
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legislation gives us the opportunity to do it. and i urge its support, and i yield back. mr. bennet: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. markey: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator frothe.mr. merkley: mr., the most important words in the craft l of our constitution are the first three word of that document: "we the people." these are the worded that the
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authors put in supersize print to tell us that that is what our government is all about. and also what it is not about. they did not start out this document by saying that we are a government to serve the ruling elites. they did not establish this constitution to serve the titans of industry and the titans of commerce, and they did not write our constitution to serve the best-off, the richest in our society. quite the contrary, the genius of america was a government designed, as president lincoln so eloquently summarized, to be of the people, by the people, and for the people. now, i'll be rising periodically to address issues that affect americans across our nation. issues important to a government of, by, and for the people, issues that we should be addressing here in this chamber.
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and today i'll use this time to talk about the challenge we face in climate change. last month, scientists reported that 2015 was the single-hottest year on record. nasa says this past year was a full .9 degrees centigrade hotter than the average during the 20th century. and, moreover, it took us significantly is from 2014, which was the previous hottest year on record -- about a quarter degree fahrenheit hotter than 2014. and that is an unexpectedly massive increase in the challenge of global warming. now, these numbers come from the best scientific analysis. they take the combined temperature from the land and from the water and from the air to get a comprehensive picture
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of what is going on on our beautiful blue-green planet. and in total, 15 of the hottest years our planet has experienced while humans have tread this earth have been the last 16 years. now, these temperature records send a strong message to us, but there is also a powerful message coming from the -- what is happening on the ground, the facts on the ground. we see the impact of global warming on our own communities. we see the impacts in terms of the pine beetle expansion because the winter winters are d enough to kill them off. we see it in terms of the red zone that comes from that. we see it in terms of the longer fire season, 60 days longer over the last four years in my home state of oregon. and on the oregon coast, we're having trouble with oyster oystersreproducing because in
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those -- with oyster reproducing because in the first few days of life, the waters are more acidic than they were in the industrial revolution. we see in the cascade mountains where the snowpack has been smaller, it affects our winter sports and it affects the runoff that serve serves our farms, ane had massive, difficult droughts in oregon in the klamath basin. these changes aren't just happening in oregon. they are happening across our nation. they are happening across the world. and this change is driving huge costs that can be measured in lost lives and lost homes and lost farms and lost businesses and burned forests and billions of dollars in disaster relief. scientists agree that we must keep the warming of our planet under 2 degrees celsius to avoid catastrophic impacts. we're seeing severe impacts now. but these will be nothing compared to what's anticipated if we allow global warming to
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continue. to stay below 2 degrees celsius -- or about 3.5 degrees fahrenheit -- we must pivot off of fossil fuels to a clean energy economy. and that does mean pursuing energy efficiency in our vehicles, in our freight transportation, in our homes. it does mean investing in renewable energy, non-carbon electrical energy produced by citizensunlight and by wind. but the simple, sobering fact is this, energy efficiency and renewable energy will not be enough to stop the warming of our planet unless we leave 80% of the currently known fossil fuel reserves in the ground. that is a powerful statement because there are enormous financial forces that seek to
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extract those proven reserves, to burn those proven reserves and in doing so will destroy our planet. now you and i, fellow citizens, we are owners together of a vast amount of fossil fuels, of coal, of natural gas, of oil. this is the oil and gas and coal that is underneath our public lands and water. and we should use our we the people power to manage these fossil fuel reserves for the public good. and the public good is to move away from an area where the united states government facilitates the extraction and burning of citizen owned fossil fuels to a new era where the federal government together with our we the people government from fossil fuels to clean energy economy. as we face the threat of catastrophic climate change, the public good in regard to these
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fossil fuels is to keep them in the ground. when we do a new lease for the extraction of our citizen-owned fossil fuels, we lock in carbon extraction for 20 years, 30 years, 40 years, even 50 years into the future. that is unacceptable. that is morally wrong, because that extraction decades into the future will do enormous damage to our planet, to our forests, to our farming, to our fishing. this is an assault, first and foremost, on rural america. and it is our responsibility to stop it. and that's why i introduced the keep it in the ground act. this legislation ends new leases for coal and oil and gas on public lands and waters. and it would drive a transition from fossil fuel extraction and combustion towards a renewable energy economy.
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critics might argue that we cannot simply end consumption of fossil fuels tomorrow. they might point out that society still depends on fossil fuels for electricity and for transportation. and they might know that the leases that have already been put out there provide extraction opportunities decades after this bill is enacted. that being said, all the more important that we not do new leases, that we not do new loser extraction decades into the future. time is short and public lands and waters are citizen-owned. public lands and water are the right place to start, and it's critical to the future of our planet. and the success of this moment, the keep it in the ground movement will depend on grass roots organizing. the grass roots stopped the keystone pipeline which should
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have turned on the tap for some of the dirtiest fossil fuels in the world. grass roots organizing has driven the administration to suspend and possibly to stop drilling in the arctic waters, drilling which is the height of irresponsibility in the fragile arctic region. and just recently grass roots organizing and energy has encouraged the president to put a pause on coal leasing to evaluate its climactic impacts. well, these are important steps in the right direction, but i want to encourage our president to go further. just as he has suspended new leases for coal, president obama has authority to do the same for oil and gas. last week i joined with nine other colleagues in calling on the department of interior to strengthen its climate commitments by dropping all new fossil fuel leases from the fiefd-year -- five-year outer
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continental outer shelf oil ands leasing program. i emphasize grass roots organizing as critical because this building here on capitol hill is full of individuals like myself who have been elected, and in our elections vast funds from the fossil fuel industry are holding sway. so it's going to take citizens and a we the people government, of, by, and for the people to be able to continue to drive what we all know is right. it will be essential to sustain and expand the keep it in the ground movement. now, not so long ago when individuals outside of this building were talking about keep it in the ground and then inside this building we started to have that conversation, many said it's just too much of a stretch. it's too much of a paradigm change from the past when we sought to lease out our fossil
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fuels, that this wouldn't work. but where are we now? not only did we have success in the keystone, not only success in the arctic, not only success in terms of suspension of coal leases, but we have a broader conversation about ending all of these new leases in each of these areas of fossil fuels on our citizen-owned property. senator bernie sanders, who is a cosponsor of my keep it in the ground bill, said in november -- and i quote -- "we cannot continue to extract fossil fuels from federally owned land." and he continued. he said, "you can't talk the talk and say i'm concerned about climate change and at the same time say we're going to extract a huge amount of coal and oil and gas." last friday secretary clinton called for banning fossil fuels on public lands a -- quote -- "done deal." and she went on to say no future extractions. i agree with that. that is what she said.
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and so we have come a long way in a short period from action in three specific areas to the leading presidential contenders on the democratic side calling for moral action to take on this threat. moving forward, there are two options before us. our federal government can be a government of, by, and for the titans and can be complicit in digging our carbon hole even deeper and doing even more damage to the land we love. or our it federal government can be the we the people government that was laid out by our constitution. and it can lead this effort to manage our fossil fuels on public lands for the public good, and work with our partners around the globe to save our planet. it has been said that we are the first generation to see the impacts of global warming and that we are the last generation that can do something about it.
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so the choice is simple. let's move aggressively away from a fossil fuel economy to a clean energy economy. let's work in partnership with the world to take on this worldwide challenge. and let's do the smart thing. and when it comes to our publicly owned fossil fuels, let's keep it in the ground. thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. mr. schatz: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that henry sleffer, rebecca gilbert and scott richards, fellows in my office, be granted floor privileges for the remainder of this session of congress. the presiding officer: without objection. schatz --
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mr. schatz: thank you. i rise to condemn north korea's belligerence in east asia. for decades they have starved its people, sponsored criminal conduct in cyber attacks and bullied south korea. in the last month it has violated numerous u.n. resolutions regarding development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. d.n.i. clapper stated that the regime is expanding its pyongyang enrhode -- enrichment facility. this is a threat to the united states and regional stability and remind us that the kim regime has no interest in abiding by international rules. the continued development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles threatens our military forces in japan and south korea and poses a risk to seoul, tokyo, and other major cities in the region. and while north korea regularly exaggerates its capabilities,
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it's clear that its belligerence is unending and its technology is improving. this legislation will strengthen and expand the united states' sanctions against north korea. we should use every tool we have to increase pressure on the regime so that it dismantles its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. but it's not at all clear that they are responding to direct pressure from our own country. if there is going to be meaningful change in the security situation on the korean peninsula, then china is going to have to exert more leverage over its neighbor. while we certainly do not see eye to eye with china on many, many things, we can and must work together to address our shared concerns. china has a tremendous amount at stake too. unfortunately, chinese efforts to rein in north korea have so far been underwhelming. in response to china's diplomatic overtures to stop the
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missile launch last saturday, north korea actually accelerated its plans and launched its missile on the eve of the lunar new year celebrations in china. if that's how north korea treats its only ally, we face an uphill battle especially without china recalibrating its approach and increasing its pressure. china must step up to the plate and recognize that dealing with the kim regime now is better than dealing with it later. china ought to communicate with its ally that it is fed up with its belligerence and supports stronger u.n. sanctions. this is the way china will demonstrate its commitment to international peace and security. the goal of the sanctions legislation is not to target the north korean people. they are the victims of the kim regime. they have borne the cost of these ballistic missile launches. one estimate that it cost $1 billion for the most recent launch which would have fed the entire country for a year.
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our goal is to convince north korea that working with the international community is preferable to being isolated from it. since president obama took office, the u.n. adopted three major resolutions on north korea's nuclear program. president obama has signed three major executive orders, further sanctioning north korea's activities. i support these efforts, and we must do more. the sanctions bill will give the administration additional tools to squeeze north korea to change its behavior. but sanctions are not going to be enough. we need to reassure our allies and the region and provide the necessary resources to protect our forces in south korea and japan. diplomacy, after all, is advanced when it is backed up by a strong defense. to that end, we need to do three things. first, we must continue serious discussions with south korea about deploying the terminal high-altitude air defense system
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or thaad to defend against the missile threat. this has probably become a necessity because of north korea's recent actions. if it is deployed, we will have to reassure countries in the region that thaad is intended to defend against the north korean missile threat to avoid misperceptions. we need to pass a well funded defense budget that provides for the readiness of the forces under admiral harris' command at paycom through which the general at united states forces cree will keep our member ready to fight. third, we ought to explore new opportunities to strengthen our ballistic missile defense, including increasing the protection of our forces in hawaii and the western pacific by turning the test complex on hawaii into an operational site, a proposal representatives gabbard and zakai are working on with the department of defense. these are preliminary steps we
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can take to ensure our allies and forces in the region that we are committed to their security and we should refine our thinking as the threat evolves. the sanctions bill reinforces that commitment and sends a clear message that it is time to step up all levels of pressure on north korea to end its belligerence in the region. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. a senator: mr. president, recent developments in korea should have raised serious concern and as we've heard over and over again in the senate today from members of both parties, they have raised serious concerns. mr. blunt: this weekend north
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korea launched its latest so-called satellite into orbit. we know that this was nothing but an attempt to conceal their development of ballistic missile programs that would actually check launch capability, not really launching a satellite. on december 6, north korea claims to have tested a hydrogen bomb, which if that was true would significantly increase and have advanced its nuclear capabilities, even if that's not true, they have significant weapons in what everyone in the world would understand to be dangerous and even unstable hands. in october of 2014, the senior u.s. commander on the korean peninsula told reporters that north korea has the capability to put together a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can be mounted on a ballistic missile.
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now we see them continuing to check that launch and missile capability. they have already tested atomic nuclear weapon in 2006 and 2009, and in 2013. in all cases in violation of multiple u.n. security council resolutions and frankly in violation of the agreements that they made in the early part of the 2003 and 2004. nuclear experts have reported that north korea may currently have as many as 20 nuclear warheads and that the capital has the potential to possess as many as 100 warheads within the next five years. combined with what appears to be growing sophistication in their missile technology, they have been seeking a way to represent
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and really truly possess something that's potentially disastrous in a nuclear way to the united states and certainly to our allies in the region. they have shown great capacity to proliferate nuclear weapons and technology to other dangerous regimes, and we would have every reason, i'm sure, to believe dangerous individuals. the u.s. officials recently connected iranian officials to north korea. they specifically mentioned two iranians who, according to the -- the report -- quote -- have been critical to the development of the 80-ton rocket booster, and both traveled to work on this. according to reports, iran might
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coincidentally conduct a nuclear launch later this month. now, we see iran doing what it's doing, we see korea with the capacity to do what it's doing. frankly, what we see in both those cases as well as russia, economies that are faltering, people that have every reason to wonder about the people in charge of their government, but of course the more that occurs, the more dangerous a government might be in an unstable country to try to do everything they can to make the most of the idea of mems that they need to defend themselves against, of people they need to advance against. we also know that we -- that
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they have significantly increased their cyber abilities. we continue to hear from people in the intelligence community that a cyber threat is one of the greatest threats we face. we saw north korea launch out a cyber attack on sony pictures in 2014 and did incredible damage in many ways, including just expressing their ability to get disruptively involved in the critical infrastructure of our country in the same way they were able to get involved in the cyber world of one major company. according to the november, 2015, report of the center for strategic and international studies, it said north korea's emerging as a significant actor in cyberspace with both its military and clandestine operations, gaining the ability to conduct cyber operations. that ends that quote that started with north korea, but
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when you look at what north korea is doing with nuclear weapons, their attempt to increase and/or exaggerate the potential they have with the kind of weapons they have or the ability they have to develop those weapons, when you look at what north korea is doing with their cyber activities, we see a continually growing threat there. that's why the bill has been brought to the floor by senator gardner from -- and senator corker from their committee. the north korean sanctions policy enhancement act really takes steps by providing the tools necessary to hold north korea and its enablers accountable for what they do. the bill's overall goal is to peacefully disarm north korea through mandatory sanctions. that would -- those sanctions
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would deprive the regime of the means to build its nuclear and ballistic missiles and advance its malicious cyber activities. specifically, it mandates sanctions against individuals who have materially contributed to north korea's nuclear and ballistic missile development, to individuals who have engaged in money laundering, the manufacture of counterfeit goods or narcotics trafficking that would benefit those programs, to individuals who have gained in significant activities undermining cybersecurity against the united states or foreign individuals. in addition to these sanctions, the legislation targets areas that would deny north korea the resources it needs to continue its malicious activities. for example, the bill mandates sanctions on individuals involved in trading minerals and medals that could be part of a
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nuclear program. this section would send a strong message certainly to china, china being north korea's chief diplomatic protector, but also china being north korea's largest trading partner. the things that could be used as sanctions would -- should surely make china think twice about what they're doing with north korea but also think twice about what north korea's doing with the world. china purports to have significant influence in north korea. china purports to not want to see this -- these nuclear destabilizing things occur. this bill would be an incentive for china to live up to those claims. it's consistently failed to leverage its political influence or its economic influence up until now.
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if china's getting serious about north korea changing its behavior, we'd like to see that happen. by the way, in a new view of sanctions, there is a waiver in this bill, as there has traditionally been, for the president of the united states to have a waiver of these penalties, but this waiver is much stronger from the legislative perspective in that the president can only use the waiver on a specific basis and has to report, as i understand it, what that basis is. this measure also goes beyond the traditional sanctions because it calls on the administration and requires the administration to put forth a comprehensive strategy to promote improved implementation and enforcement of how these sanctions would work and what they would do.
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to combat north korea's cyber activities, to promote and encourage international engagement on north korea human rights violations and to report back to congress what they have found. there can be no doubt that other would-be nuclear regimes are going to be watching this carefully. we see the lack of appreciation for united states commitment in the early months, the early weeks and months of the unfor fortunate iranian deal, and the iranians should and will look back at 2003 and 2004 and wonder why the agreements with north korea didn't work and wonder if we're committed to those agreements and wonder if we still are determined to stop north korea when we see the kind
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of activities we see today, and this begins to send that message, but the required implementation, the required reports send that message in more aggressive ways than the congress and consequently the country have before. finally, we need to ensure that all u.s. forces deployed in the region are appropriately equipped with the most up to date surveillance and counterballistic-ballistic misse platforms. our regional allies, particularly south korea and japan need to ensure that the united states is committed to both the stability and defense of all our partners and interests in the region. south korea and japan should be encouraged to undertake any self-defense measures that are necessary to augment american forces already in the region. north korea remains a serious threat to peace and stability in the region and in the world.
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north korea continues to be a bad example of what happens when the united states makes agreements and isn't prepared to follow through on those agreements. the world is watching. i hope my colleagues will join me in sending a clear message to north korea, a clear message that their provocations are not acceptable and that its continuing pursuit of illicit nuclear weapons will not be tolerated. we get a chance, mr. president, to vote on that issue today. i hope we send a strong message. i hope the administration becomes a stronger partner in this message than the messages we are failing to send right now to iran. i think this is an important moment for the country and the world.
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mr. gardner: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. gardner: we have heard a lot of great discussions and debates today about the sanctions in north korea. one of the issues that continues to come up, of course, is the lack of response from the united nations. as they are considering deliberating what to do, what exactly to do with north korea, i hope they will hear the words that are being discussed, not only here on the floor of the united states senate but also the actions that are taking place around the globe and particularly in south korea. we have long been aware of the
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kaesong industrial complex. this is located somewhere north of seoul, basically the d.m.z. line, right between the two, north korea and south korea. it's actually inside north korea where this industrial complex is a joint venture, so to speak. a number of efforts from south korea where they are funding manufacturing facilities using labor from north korea. the purpose of kaesong, this manufacturing center, this industrial complex was to try to create additional opportunities for north korea and south korea to come together economically and create opportunities for them perhaps to join together in unification efforts as they continue to see that they can work together economically. earlier this year, in one of the first committee hearings that i held in the east asia subcommittee, we heard testimony from dr. victor cha, who is a professor of
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government-georgetown university. he is a senior advisor and korea chair at the center for strategic and international studies. we had testimony on north korea, and just several months ago at the beginning of the year as we really focused on how we were going to address this challenge in the kim jong-un regime. in his testimony to the house of representatives just a few weeks ago, he talked about -- dr. vic for shaw's testimony a few weeks ago, he talked about some of the steps that could be taken by the united states and south korea to address this north korean threat. and he talked about asymmetric pressure points. asymmetric pressure points that we have that we can apply to try to bring peace to the peninsula. and his statement said a new approach to north korea must focus on those asymmetric pressure points, and he talked a little bit about kaesong industrial complex, and this is what his testimony said.
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another useful asymmetric pressure point is the kaesong industrial complex. a legacy of the sunshine policy, this project now provides $90 million in annual wages, around $245.7 million from december, 2004, to july, 2012. of hard currency to north korean authorities with little wages actually going to the factory workers. the south korean government will be opposed to shutting down the kaesong industrial complex, as even conservative governments in south korea have grown attached to the project as symbolic of the future potential of a unified korea. but difficult times call for difficult measures. again, dr. chai's testimony saying this is as asymmetric treasure point where if you were to address something with kaesong, then perhaps that can apply pressure to the north korean regime,

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