Reiterates call for increased sanctions to push diplomatic solution

Washington (September 21, 2017) -- Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Subcommittee of the Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement following President Donald Trump’s announcement of an executive order imposing new sanctions on North Korea. Last month, Senators Markey and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) introduced legislation to impose economic sanctions on North Korea and its enablers.
“We need to put a ‘Closed For Business’ sign on North Korea,” said Senator Markey. “But increased sanctions by themselves will not be enough. We need direct talks now, first to freeze North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and then to reach a diplomatic solution that peacefully denuclearizes the Korean Peninsula. Only through the toughest economic sanctions along with sustained diplomacy can we force North Korea to the negotiating table.
“China’s agreement to block North Korean access to its regulated banking system is important, it can and must do more.  Recent reports say that North Korea is using the internet to amass bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions to buy what it needs to make nuclear bombs and the missiles that carry them. And although the United Nations recently increased the sanctions pressure on Pyongyang, we must crack down on criminal cyber transactions, stop the flow of oil to North Korea, stop Pyongyang from selling the labor of its people abroad, and cut off all access to the rocket fuels and chemical precursors that power North Korea’s ballistic missiles.”

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.