Boston (December 15, 2017) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the East Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s remarks at the December 15 United Nations Security Council Ministerial Meeting on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). On Tuesday, December 12, Secretary Tillerson offered unconditional talks with North Korea. On Friday, December 15, before the UN Security Council, Secretary Tillerson reversed course and said, “North Korea must earn its way back to the table.” Senator Markey has been the leading Congressional voice calling on President Trump to engage in direct negotiations with Pyongyang, backed by increased sanctions pressure from China and regional military deterrence.
“The Trump administration needs to stop moving the diplomatic goal posts with North Korea,” said Senator Markey. “The North Korean threat has only increased since President Trump took office and the mixed messages this administration is sending regarding the willingness of the United States to talk does nothing to bring North Korea to the table to find a diplomatic solution. The Trump administration needs to find a way to get China to cut off the oil flowing into North Korea, as well as Russia to end the use of North Korean slave labor. Only the combination of economic pressure and diplomatic engagement will peacefully resolve this crisis.”
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.) have introduced legislation to impose economic sanctions on North Korea and its enablers.