Reiterates call on Trump administration to launch direct negotiations with North Korea

Washington (September 12, 2017) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the East Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, commended the United Nations Security Council for increasing economic sanctions in response to North Korea’s test of its largest nuclear explosive yet, but renewed his call for even tougher new sanctions to bring the North Korean government to the negotiating table to freeze its nuclear and ballistic missile testing programs. Senator Markey has called for cutting off the import of all oil products to North Korea; requiring the dissolution of all existing business partnerships between North Korea the rest of the world; prohibiting all export of slave labor from North Korea to other countries and cut off the revenues they generate for the Kim Regime; prohibiting the import of all luxury goods into North Korea; and prohibiting the export of all textiles from North Korea to other countries.
“While the UN Security Council did toughen sanctions on North Korea, it did not go nearly far enough,” said Senator Markey. “The international community must apply the kind of crushing economic pressure required to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table, including starving the country of oil and other economic supports that allow it to continue its missile programs. At the same time, we must exhaust every available diplomatic option to deescalate tensions and negotiate an end to the North Korea nuclear threat before it erupts into a catastrophic war.  
“We must also be willing to take measures to assure North Korea that our military forces are in the region only to deter and defend against aggression, not to depose or decapitate the North Korean regime. As soon as North Korea agrees to a freeze of its missile and nuclear testing, the United States and our South Korean allies should continue direct negotiations with Pyongyang toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Last month, Senator Markey led a Congressional delegation to South Korea, Japan, and the North Korea-China border, where it was the first delegation of foreign officials to receive a briefing from Chinese customs officials who enforce sanctions at the border.