U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., the vice chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee and the chairman of the U.S. House Asia and Pacific Subcommittee on Asia, is looking to expand information access to North Korea--and he has the backing of some leading figures on Capitol Hill.
Yoho is looking to update the North Korea Human Rights Act (NKHRA) of 2004 which authorized making radio broadcasts into North Korea. Noting the technological updates of the last 13 years, Yoho is calling to modernize the law with his “Distribution and Promotion of Rights and Knowledge Act of 2017.”
The North Central Florida Republican has already reeled in the support of some leading representatives including U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee. Royce made the case for Yoho’s bill on Friday.
“North Korea severely limits access to information,” Royce said. “In fact, receiving unauthorized broadcasts in North Korea can get you the death sentence. U.S.-backed broadcasts into the country let brave North Koreans learn the truth about their tyrannical leader and hear news from the outside world.
“I applaud Asia Subcommittee Chairman Yoho for introducing this important legislation to support new ways for North Koreans to access this information,” Royce added. “I’ve long said that increased broadcasting into North Korea must be part of any strategy to address the urgent threats from the Kim Jong Un regime.”
“I want to thank Chairman Royce for his support of the Distribution and Promotion of Rights and Knowledge Act of 2017,” Yoho said. “This bill will directly counter the North Korean regime by providing new technologies, improved content, and greater access of information to empower the people of North Korea. Knowledge is power—especially in one of the most secretive and secluded societies on earth, where 24 million people are prevented from gaining true understanding of their sad reality.
“Kim has every intention to advance his nuclear program—posing a direct threat to U.S. national security,” Yoho continued. “The people of North Korea are inundated with propaganda stating that their hardships are a direct result of U.S. hostility, and that nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles are necessary to keep their enemies at bay. This bill will reinforce our ability to underscore the hypocrisy and brutality of the Kim Jong Un regime, breaking his monopoly on information.”
In addition to Royce’s support, Yoho’s proposal also has the backing of U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, D-NY, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., is also backing the legislation.