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by
Bridget Johnson

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July 17, 2013 - 2:42 pm

Lawmakers urged the Obama administration to swing into action after Cuba was found to be transferring sophisticated missile systems to North Korea — but the White House was hedging on Havana’s wrongdoing.

“Any nation that is found to be exporting arms or arms related materiel to North Korea would be in violation of a number of UN Security Council resolutions. The recent exposure of a North Korean-flagged vessel bound for North Korea from Cuba, containing small arms and missile equipment would find both these rogue nations in violation of those Security Council resolutions,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee. “This reaffirms what we already know: the Castro brothers and the Kim dynasty have absolutely no intention of adhering to their international obligations, and will stop at nothing to assist each other in skirting the law.”

“Our policy is clear when it comes to the matter of arms or related materiel being imported from or exported to North Korea. The time to act on this is now. This is likely not the first time these two rogue regimes have conducted this type of sordid dealing, and we must send a clear message that these illicit activities will not, and must not, be tolerated,” she added.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) called the transfer “a grave violation of international treaties.”

“Weapons transfers from one communist regime to another hidden under sacks of sugar are not accidental occurrences, and reinforces the necessity that Cuba remain on the State Department’s list of countries that sponsor state terrorism,” Menendez said. “In addition to possible violations of Panamanian law, the shipment almost certainly violated United Nations Security Council sanctions on shipments of weapons to North Korea and as such, I call on the Obama Administration to submit this case to the U.N. Security Council for review.”

Ros-Lehtinen said the State Department should “instruct our U.S. Mission at the UN to urge UN Sanctions Committee inspectors to go to Panama and conduct an immediate and thorough investigation to find whether these two regimes are in violation of the applicable UN resolutions.”

“But we cannot afford to wait for the UN to conduct its business,” she said. “The State Department must immediately re-designate North Korea as a State Sponsor of Terrorism and impose increased sanctions on any individual, entity or government involved in transferring arms to Pyongyang.”

Last month, Ros-Lehtinen led a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the administration to re-designate North Korea as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. The White House has resisted repeated pressure from Congress on this.

At today’s White House press briefing, Jay Carney was asked if the U.S. is “upset” with Cuba for supplying the Kim Jong-un regime with weaponry.

“The United States commends the actions that the government of Panama took in this case,” Carney said. “…Efforts to determine exactly what was on the ship that you mentioned are ongoing, and it will take time to confirm all of the details.”

“And if it is determined that materials found onboard the vessel violate U.N. sanctions, sanctions enforcement would be handled through a United Nations process. And if that eventuality presents itself, I’d refer you to the State Department and USUN for additional details and information on next steps,” he added.

When called out on being reluctant to criticize Cuba, Carney responded, “I think that we don’t want to get ahead of a process that’s underway to determine what exactly was on the ship.  And then, if it’s determined that materials found onboard that vessel violate sanctions, then the body that levied the sanctions, the United Nations, would handle enforcement matters.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (8)
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Double Secret Probation!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
John Kennedy has a lot to answer for. His splendid reputation is not earned. The prisoners, the blood of the dead and the current tyranny in Cuba are all his fault for not helping that day at the Bay of Pigs as he had promised.
And Obama will do nothing. He is too busy figuring our how to upset our friends and support our enemies.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This quote from that Carney-sock puppet would be droll Groucho Marx-funny if it weren't so deadly serious:

" And then, if it’s determined that materials found onboard that vessel violate sanctions, then the body that levied the sanctions, the United Nations, would handle enforcement matters.”

Note to Dear Voters:
You who voted for Obama, twice, have an awful lot to answer for. But, I fear that you haven't the wit for any careful thought beyond the end of your lengthening collective nose as long as your - "Yes! ! Can!" - dude sits smugly in the Oval Office.

Shame on the lot of you.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
.....and Cuba was instantly rendered incontinent with dread and despair at the thought that they may have angered BathHouse Barry Sotero aka: Dear Leader and his sissy-a$$ attorney general. Good God, "We may get a little angry....?" How humiliating....weak....sissy.....limp, how long before Russia, China and Iran all attack us?

Remember BENGHAZI!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Paper tiger. What is the U.S. going to do about it? Send a strongly worded letter? Cuba and North Korea (along with the rest of the world) know that Obama is a pussy and won't do anything to back up his threats.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Why can't we just drone-bomb Cuba? It's not like we'd be hurting any real people or anything.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Taking down Castros would send a very positive message to North Korean playboy. It might achieve more positive changes in both Communist countries in 1 week than it was achieved in the last 50 years.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If you could be sure of taking out the Castro Brothers - and only the Castro Brothers - I might not have a big problem with that. But there are a lot of Cubans who might be nearby who might not be fans of the Castros at all. It would be a shame to hurt them. Despite Fidel's claims that he is loved by his people, I have grave doubts about that.

Remember, there has not been a single democratic election since Fidel Castro took power on Jan 1, 1959. Neither he nor his brother are legitimate in any sense that we should recognize. I've been saying for years that they should have genuinely free and fair elections in Cuba and that if either Castro is then elected that way, we should at least recognize their legitimacy. After all, the Castros have long proclaimed that they speak for the Cuban people and are doing what the Cuban people want. If they can claim that for over 50 years and STILL not win a real democratic election, any claim to legitimacy would be permanently voided. Since they don't allow such an election, I can only conclude that they know they would lose it. Otherwise, they would have had that election ages ago to at least give themselves the taint of legitimacy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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