Senator Markey Statement on Proposed North-South Korea Olympics Talks
Lawmaker reiterates call for additional measures against Pyongyang and its enablers
Boston (January 2, 2018) Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the East Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, welcomed South Korea’s proposal for talks with North Korea about potential participation in next month’s Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang. Senator Markey also called for additional economic sanctions on the North Korean regime and its enablers, as well as direct negotiations between the United States and North Korea. In October, Senator Markey and Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) introduced legislation in recognition of the need to develop a coherent and multifaceted North Korea strategy combining sanctions, diplomatic engagement, and a stronger alliance between the United States and South Korea.
“Tensions are dangerously high on the Korean Peninsula, and talks between North and South Korea to ensure a peaceful and successful Olympics are a welcome step,” said Senator Markey. “This overture by South Korea is an important one, but North Korea remains a dangerous aggressor and bears responsibility for escalating this situation to its current crisis level. As long as Kim Jong-un, his regime, and the North Korean military continue to benefit from Chinese crude oil, illicit petroleum transfers, and proceeds from overseas labor, we can expect North Korea to threaten and provoke the United States, South Korea, and the entire region. President Trump and Secretary Tillerson need to engage in a credible and direct diplomatic campaign, combined with strict sanctions, to bring North Korea to the negotiating table. Only this combination of diplomacy and economic pressure, along with enhanced military readiness and deterrence with our South Korean ally, offers our best chance of halting North Korea’s destabilizing nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”