U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today released the following statement regarding reports from South Korea that Pyongyang is preparing to launch a long-range rocket from its missile base in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"North Korea's preparation for a long-range ballistic missile launch in the coming weeks is just another example of the Kim regime's anti-peace agenda. Pyongyang's decision to move forward with its preparations for this launch is unacceptable and a flagrant violation of UN sanctions.
"The failure of the Obama Administration's "Leap Day' deal is apparent as North Korea has chosen to further its nuclear weapons and missile programs in open defiance of bilateral and international agreements. We must impose strict sanctions on Pyongyang to cut off its financial resources and tighten the noose on those who assist the regime's weapons proliferation efforts.
"North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has shown repeatedly that he is committed to the same "military first' policy of his father. By choosing to fund military projects instead of feeding the North Korean people, the Kim regime has made its priorities apparent. We cannot be fooled again by a dictatorship that diverts all of its resources to building a nuclear arsenal at the expense of its own people. As we focus on undermining and targeting the North Korean regime's vulnerabilities to compel it to change its behavior, we must also strengthen our security relationship with our South Korean and Japanese allies."