Washington (May 9, 2017) – Senator Edward J. Markey, top Democrat on the East Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement congratulating Moon Jae-in after his victory in the recent South Korean presidential election.


“I offer my warmest congratulations to Moon Jae-in on his victory in the recent presidential elections in the Republic of Korea. The high turnout for this election underscores the commitment of the South Korean people to our shared democratic values and demonstrates the strength and resilience of South Korea’s democratic institutions.


“As President-elect Moon prepares to take office, I look forward to a future of deepened political, economic, and cultural ties between the United States and South Korea.


“As North Korea continues to develop ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons that threaten the Republic of Korea, one of our closest allies, the United States must continue to deter any attack on South Korea with a robust defensive military posture and the highest level of operational readiness.


“At the same time, the United States must closely coordinate any military deployments, exercises, and actions with our South Korean and Japanese allies. We must recognize that while deterring North Korean aggression is essential, the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula must ultimately occur peacefully.


“That is why I am particularly heartened by President-elect Moon’s call for diplomacy with North Korea as a means of securing Pyongyang’s denuclearization. Only negotiations, backed by strong economic pressure imposed in concert with China, will resolve the North Korean nuclear threat.


“I call on President Trump to work together with South Korea, Japan, and other concerned states to initiate formal negotiations with North Korea, while continuing to vigorously implement and enforce existing sanctions.”