Washington (April 2, 2017) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the East Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, criticized President Donald Trump for comments made to a news outlet today that the United States is prepared to respond to nuclear threats from North Korea unilaterally if China does not pressure the country. The comments are made as China’s President Xi Jinping plans to meet with President Trump later this week. Last week, Senators Markey and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) sent a letter to President Trump urging him to fully enforce current sanctions against North Korea.


“President Trump has threatened that the United States alone will ‘solve North Korea,’ but his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has ruled out negotiations, without which a peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear problem is impossible,” said Senator Markey. “Rather than risk a nuclear catastrophe on the Korean Peninsula with boasts of preemptive strikes or preventative war, President Trump must develop and implement a tough, smart strategy of coercive diplomacy along with sanctions and deterrence to stop North Korea's nuclear program. Saber-rattling and bravado from the President are not appropriate to address the grave threat of a nuclear North Korea. America must lead in the Asia-Pacific, not threaten to charge alone into needless conflict or war. I strongly urge President Trump to use his upcoming meeting with President Xi for a serious and productive discussion of how the United States and China can achieve their shared goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” 


Senator Markey had previously warned that threats of preemptive action could increase the risk of inadvertent nuclear and conventional war on the Korean Peninsula. Earlier this month, Senators Markey and Al Franken (D-Minn.) called on President Trump to adopt a bold new approach toward North Korea involving negotiations, sanctions, and deterrence.