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Condemning the North Korean Missile Launch

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ROYCE. Thank you very much, Chairman, for yielding.

I rise in support of this resolution, of which I am an original cosponsor.

I think Members are very rightly concerned now, as the same technology that's used to put a satellite into space is also used to launch a ballistic missile. This experiment by North Korea is definitely an advance for them. It is definitely a threat to the region. It is definitely a threat to the United States because what we're talking about here are three-stage ICBMs.

It is estimated that North Korea has spent $3 billion since 1998 on that missile program, which is the amount of money that would have bought enough corn to feed that country over the last 3 years. I have been to North Korea, and I've seen the malnutrition. Instead of feeding its people, it continues to plow billions of dollars into its military. That's the type of despicable regime we're dealing with--where $3 billion went into this project instead of feeding the population. This is why the House has passed legislation to prohibit the United States from giving food aid to North Korea. When we do so, money is fungible, and we have found in the past that that aid is both used to feed the military and it's sold on the exchange for hard currency.

U.S. policy towards North Korea--hoping that North Korea will give up its weapons for aid--has been a failure. It has been a bipartisan failure, frankly, for decades, and it has gotten us now to this point. The hope that North Korea can be induced to abandon its ambitions for nuclear weapons and missiles distracts us, unfortunately. It distracts us from pursuing the very policies that might actually change the behavior of the regime and support its people.

In going forward, we need to move away from an unimaginative policy here to one with energy and creativity and focus. Let's tackle North Korea's illicit activities--its missile and drug proliferation, its counterfeiting of U.S. currency. This regime will do anything for money. As many North Koreans who have left will tell you, this is a gangster regime. Let's interfere with those shipments and disrupt the bank accounts that are used. Let's ramp up radio broadcasts into the country where there is evidence that the information wall is cracking. We see that with the defectors who are telling us about how much they oppose the regime now. Let's help the refugees who are literally dying to escape the prison north of the 38th parallel.

Severely weakening the regime is the only way to make the Korean peninsula secure. Until it was dropped in favor of a failed diplomacy program several years ago, the Treasury Department went after North Korea. If we can remember 2006, we went after North Korea's ill-gotten gains that were parked in a Macau bank. We put the brakes on North Korea's counterfeiting of U.S. currency. We cut the flow of currency to the regime. The head of state could not pay his generals. It created a crisis inside North Korea.

That policy was mistakenly dropped. I'd like to see it reapplied. Let's go back to where we are proactively defending U.S. interests instead of just condemning another North Korean provocation every few months. Let's do something that has been proven to work in terms of putting the pressure on North Korea.


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