The House voted Thursday to impose new sanctions on North Korea amid heightened tensions.
Legislation approved handily on a 419-1 vote would target North Korea’s shipping industry and people who employ North Korean slave labor abroad.
It would also require the Trump administration to report to Congress within 90 days on whether North Korea should be reinstated onto the government’s state sponsors of terror list.
“This shows the world that Congress stands ready to help the administration work with our allies and others to counter North Korea’s belligerent behavior,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.).
The vote comes just days after North Korea on Saturday launched yet another missile in defiance of the U.S. and Chinese efforts to tamp down tensions.
The South Korean military reported that the missile test failed for the second time in as many weeks.
President Trump warned in an interview with Reuters late last week of potential military action if a diplomatic solution doesn’t work.
“There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea,” Trump said.
But on Monday, Trump indicated openness to meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during an interview with Bloomberg News.
“If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it,” Trump said, after telling CBS in another interview which aired Sunday that Kim was a “smart cookie.”
Rep. Eliot Engel (N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, warned that Trump’s inconsistency could backfire in the attempts to rein in the North Korean regime.
“We’re sending mixed signals and the world is taking notice,” Engel said.
The House passed legislation last month that would direct the State Department to determine whether North Korea should be considered a state sponsor of terrorism, along with Iran, Sudan and Syria.
North Korea was taken off the state sponsors of terrorism list in 2008 as part of a nuclear agreement with President George W. Bush’s administration that since failed. Lawmakers have been calling for reinstating North Korea onto the list amid recent provocations.