"They're convinced the only way they are ever going to accomplish what they want is by having a nuclear program and being able to hold the world hostage with it," Rubio told the hearing.
He also foresaw a danger of nuclear proliferation in Asia — to date alleviated through the "nuclear umbrella" security guarantee the U.S. provides to both South Korea and Japan, which do not have atomic weapons.
The new U.N. sanctions, which were drafted by the U.S. and the North's chief ally and benefactor, China, should make it more difficult for Pyongyang to finance and obtain material for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and for the reclusive nation's ruling elite to acquire luxury goods.
Davies said the growing international condemnation of North Korea's actions and the new U.N. sanctions showed "the world is beginning to wake up" to the problem the North poses. But he said for diplomacy to work, China has to "step up and play its full role in bringing home to Pyongyang the choices it faces."
U.S. lawmakers remain skeptical of Beijing's commitment to implementing the sanctions, which will be critical for their effectiveness since most of the companies and banks that North Korea is believed to work with are based in China.
Three individuals who were added Thursday to the U.N. sanctions list — including top officials at a company that is North Korea's primary arms dealer and main exporter of ballistic missile-related equipment — were also quickly added to a U.S. Treasury blacklist. Two other new entities on the U.N. list are already sanctioned by Washington.
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