Senator Markey: Despite Missteps, Pence Acceptance of North Korean Pressure and Engagement Approach Long Overdue

Senator Markey has been leading Congressional voice in calling for combination of direct talks, economic pressure, and military deterrence 


Washington (February 13, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Ranking Member of the East Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, welcomed reports that the Trump administration is willing to engage in direct talks with North Korea. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, after refusing to speak with the North Korean delegation at the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, endorsed an approach to North Korea that includes “maximum pressure and engagement at the same time.” 


“Despite multiple missteps over the course of his trip to the Olympics, Vice President Pence’s endorsement of a combined pressure and engagement strategy for North Korea is a step in the right direction,” said Senator Markey. “The path to North Korean peaceful denuclearization has always required strong and direct U.S. diplomacy, despite President Trump’s rhetoric and recalcitrance. I have been calling for the Trump administration to talk directly with North Korea, while simultaneously tightening sanctions on North Korea and its enablers. Only this combination of diplomacy, economic pressure, and military deterrence can stop North Korea from further developing its dangerous nuclear arsenal. The Trump administration needs to show that it is serious about pursuing a responsible and multifaceted strategy. We must engage in direct talks with North Korea, in close coordination with our allies South Korea and Japan, while increasing pressure on Kim Jong Un’s sources of revenue, including cutting off Chinese crude oil. I welcome the Trump administration clarifying a responsible, combined strategy and moving forward with its implementation.”

In October 2017, Senators Markey and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) introduced legislation in recognition of the need to develop a coherent and multifaceted North Korea strategy combining diplomatic engagement, sanctions, and a stronger alliance between the United States and South Korea.