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U.S. sanctions bill to bring more uncertainties on ties with Russia, Iran, DPRK

(Xinhua)    15:58, July 26, 2017

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that will slap tougher sanctions on Russia, Iran and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Congressmen voted 419-3 to pass the bill, with three Republicans -- Justin Amash, Jimmy Duncan and Thomas Massie -- voting against the bill.

Political analysts said the move will bring more uncertainties to the country's relations with the three countries.

"The House's 419-3 vote on the sanctions bill reflects changes in its evaluation of threats from the three countries," said Teng Jianqun, director of the Department for American Studies at the China Institute of International Studies.

Teng said the sanctions bill also shows that the United States now has great worries about its national security.

"The bill, undoubtedly, will bring a negative impact and more uncertainties to America's relations with the three countries, as well as solutions to related regional issues," Teng added.

The overwhelming support for the bill, which was voted on under special procedures to pass with a two-thirds majority, means that the House could override a presidential veto.

The measure aims to target key Russian officials in retaliation for Moscow's alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, as well as sanctions against Iran and the DPRK in response to their weapons programs.

"These three regimes in different parts of the world are threatening vital U.S. interests, and they are destabilizing their neighbors," House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said Tuesday. "It is well past time that we forcefully respond."

In addition to imposing new sanctions on the three countries, the bill also grants Congress the power to block U.S. President Donald Trump from lifting sanctions on Russia. This came despite that Trump administration officials had called on lawmakers to grant "flexibility" to the White House in dealing with Russia.

According to the bill, Congress will have power to veto any decision made by the president that would "significantly alter" U.S. foreign policy in connection with Russia.

"This strong oversight is necessary. It is appropriate. After all, it is Congress that the Constitution empowers to regulate commerce with foreign nations," Royce said, according to news website The Hill.

The White House on Sunday signaled that Trump would accept the new legislation despite initial opposition.

"We support where the legislation is now, and will continue to work with the House and Senate to put those tough sanctions in place on Russia," said newly appointed White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Russian officials have repeatedly denied allegations of interfering in U.S. elections. The Kremlin has said that they viewed the U.S. sanctions bill "negatively."

"Extremely negatively," Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov was quoted by Sputnik news agency as saying when asked about the Kremlin's take on the draft bill on Monday.

The Kremlin also warned that fresh sanctions on Russia would adversely affect both sides, as well as interests of third countries.

"We consider such a continuation of the rhetoric of sanctions counter-productive and harmful to the interests of both countries," Peskov said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Chen Lidan, Bianji)

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