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US approves stricter N. Korea sanctions

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WASHINGTON: The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation to tighten sanctions on North Korea by targeting its shipping industry and companies that do business with the reclusive state.

The vote was 419 to 1.

Supporters said the legislation was intended to send a strong message to North Korea, amid international concern over the escalation of its nuclear programme.

The measure would have to be approved by the Senate before it is sent to the White House for President Donald Trump to sign into law.

Although legislation addressing North Korea has been introduced in the Senate, there was no immediate word on when or if the Senate might take up a bill.

Any new US sanctions against North Korea would likely affect China, the North's most important trade partner.

Asked about the latest US legislation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang reiterated that China opposed countries using domestic laws to impose unilateral sanctions.

With the situation tense on the Korean Peninsula, all sides need to exercise restraint and not irritate each other, he said. 

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