Senator Markey Meets with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang, Reacts to Comments by North Korean Foreign Minister

Reiterates strength of the U.S.-ROK Alliance; calls for de-escalation of dangerous war talk and immediate talks to help resolve crisis

Washington (September 25, 2017) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Subcommittee of the Foreign Relations Committee, met today with Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha.
Senator Markey and Foreign Minister Kang met to discuss the threat posed to the United States, South Korea, and the world by North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.  Both reaffirmed the strength of the U.S.-ROK Alliance and discussed ways to reduce tensions and lower the risk of inadvertent war on the Korea Peninsula. Senator Markey and Foreign Minister Kang agreed that there is no military solution to this problem and agreed to remain in close contact regarding each’s ongoing efforts to strengthen diplomatic efforts to freeze and eventually roll back North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Senator Markey also released the following statement in response to North Korea’s assertion that the United States had declared war on North Korea and its threat to shoot down U.S. military aircraft in response.
“Despite President Trump’s reckless rhetoric, the United States has not declared war on North Korea and any threat to shoot down American aircraft is unjustified and unacceptable. Our military is in the region only to defend against attack and deter aggression,” said Senator Markey. “While we stand fully ready to defend ourselves and our allies if attacked, President Trump must stop his dangerous rhetoric against North Korea.  Hurling insults could escalate all too easily into hurling bombs, even if neither side intends it. The resulting war on the Korean Peninsula could kill hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people.
“Direct talks, backed by tough economic sanctions that cut off North Korea’s oil imports, end its use of slave labor, and cut off its supply of the rocket fuels and chemical precursors that power its ballistic missiles, are the only way to assure North Korea that we do not intend to overthrow the Kim regime, to persuade them to refrain from further testing of ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs, and to engage in sustained negotiations to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.”
In August, Senator Markey led a Congressional delegation to Seoul, Tokyo, and the North Korea-China border, where it was the first foreign group to receive a briefing from Chinese customs officials who enforce sanctions at the border.  Senators Markey and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) also have introduced legislation to impose economic sanctions on North Korea and its enablers.