Washington (July 28, 2017) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the East Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reiterated his call for a strategy of direct negotiations with North Korea coupled with increased economic sanctions on the country. Earlier this month, Senators Markey and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) introduced legislation to impose economic sanctions on North Korea and its enablers. The legislation would ban any entity that does business with North Korea or its enablers from using the United States financial system and to impose U.S. sanctions on all those participating in North Korean labor trafficking abuses.
“North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test comes just twenty-four days after its successful first test of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile and three days after the United States Defense Intelligence Agency reported that the North Korean regime is on track to field a nuclear-armed ICBM by next year. North Korea’s reckless and provocative escalation represents a grave threat to the United States and our allies, and to the peace and stability of the region and the world.
“We must continue to deter and defend against this threat with a strong, unified, and ready military force. But a military attack on North Korea could set off a war in which hundreds of thousands, if not millions, could perish. There is no military solution to this problem, but continued diplomatic inaction will allow Kim Jong Un to continue to build up a nuclear and ballistic missile arsenal.
“Sanctions without direct diplomatic engagement has been tried for over a decade and failed. Pressure cannot bring North Korea to the table until we are willing talk to them. Now is the time for President Trump to clearly state his diplomatic engagement strategy, how he intends to use unprecedented sanctions pressure to bring North Korea to the table, and allow American diplomats to talk directly with North Korean diplomats so long as they freeze testing of their nuclear and missile programs. Only this combination of military deterrence, economic pressure, and diplomacy can stop North Korea from further developing its dangerous arsenal and offers a diplomatic way forward to a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons.”