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U.S. presidential hopeful Sanders under fire for missing Senate vote on N.K. sanctions

2016/02/12 01:20

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders came under fire for missing a Senate vote to approve a set of strigent sanctions on North Korea in response to Pyongyang's nuclear and missile tests.

The senator from Vermont was among four in the 100-member Senate that did not vote on the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act of 2016. The legislation passed in a 96-0 vote, demonstrating bipartisan support for a tough response to the North.

The campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slammed Sanders.

"It is unfortunate that yet again, Senator Sanders has shown a lack of interest in vital national security issues, failing to vote on sanctions against the country he said poses the greatest threat to the United States," Clinton campaign spokesman Jesse Ferguson said after Wednesday's vote, according to news reports.

Sanders was quoted as saying that he had to be "necessarily absent," but the increased sanctions were "absolutely essential" to ending North Korea's nuclear program.

His absence from the vote came after he said during a TV debate last week that he was most worried about North Korea, calling the regime "a very, very strange country."

   Other presidential hopefuls in the Senate cast their votes, including Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas).