Senator Markey Expresses Concern about Tillerson Saber-Rattling on North Korea

Lawmaker has called on President Trump to adopt a strategy of diplomacy, sanctions, and regional military deterrence in light of nuclear program acceleration

Boston (March 17, 2017) – Senator Edward J. Markey, top Democrat on the East Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, expressed concern today about Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s suggestion in Seoul that the Trump administration would refuse to negotiate with North Korea and could resort to preemptive military action against Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

“Secretary Tillerson’s suggestion of using preemptive military force against North Korea increases the risk of inadvertent nuclear and conventional war on the Korean Peninsula,” said Senator Markey. “If Kim Jong Un believes his nuclear weapons are under threat of military attack, he will feel pressure to use them or lose them. Rather than making provocative threats and refusing to negotiate, the Trump administration should engage in coercive diplomacy aimed at halting and eventually rolling back North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile program. Only a combination of pressure and talks will address this grave threat to U.S. national security.”

Senator Markey had previously warned that threats of preemptive action could increase the risk of inadvertent nuclear and conventional war on the Korean Peninsula. Earlier this month, Senators Markey and Al Franken (D-Minn.) called on President Trump to adopt a bold new approach toward North Korea involving negotiations, sanctions, and deterrence.