Senate passes bill to hit North Korea with harsher sanctions

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., center, walks with Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., left, to the chamber for the vote to impose more stringent sanctions on North Korea for willfully violating international law by pushing ahead with its nuclear weapons program and for what they say are flagrant violations of international law, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has unanimously approved legislation that aims to derail North Korea’s drive for nuclear weapons by hitting Pyongyang with more stringent sanctions.

Republicans and Democrats set aside their partisan differences Wednesday and voted 96-0 to pass the bill.

The measure targets North Korea’s ability to finance the development of miniaturized nuclear warheads and the long-range missiles required to deliver them.

The legislation also authorizes $50 million over the next five years to transmit radio broadcasts into North Korea, purchase communications equipment and support humanitarian assistance programs.

The legislation comes after Pyongyang’s recent launch of a satellite and technical advances that U.S. intelligence agencies said the reclusive Asian nation is making in its nuclear weapons program.

The House passed a similar North Korean sanctions bill last month.

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