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March 5th, 2013
08:44 AM ET

Rep. Royce: Possible N. Korea sanctions could help deter their nuclear weapon objective

A deal to punish North Korea for its third nuclear test is possible at the U.N. this morning.

U.N. envoys are telling Reuters that they may have a draft resolution later this morning. Both the U.S. and China have apparently signed off on the deal.

The development follows a frankly bizarre trip to North Korea over the weekend where former basketball star Dennis Rodman befriended dictator Kim Jong-un. Rodman has said Kim just wanted Obama to pick up the phone and call him to prevent war. But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says North Korea shouldn't expect a call anytime soon.

Congressman Ed Royce is the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He's a Republican from California with more.

Rep. Royce says the committee would like to target the hard currency used to fund the regime in North Korea. “I think it's time that at least we curtail the ability of those financial institutions that would do business with the United States,” Royce says. “We tell them, ‘no we're freezing the assets in North Korea. You're not going to be a part of building up that weapons program.’ Because that's what the foreign exchange is used for. That's what the hard currency is used for, is to build up that weapons program."

In regards to Rodman’s exchange with Kim Jong-un, Rep. Royce says the dictator merely pays money to pursue his interest in basketball and Royce doesn’t believe his interest in will change his behavior toward the West. “They might have their hobbies, but at the end of the day, they also have their objective of getting that nuclear weapon,” Rep. Royce says. “And that's something that we should try to deter through these sanctions.”

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