Washington (May 24, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the East Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement after the White House sent a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un canceling the upcoming summit between the two leaders in Singapore.
“You cannot begin a negotiation with North Korea by advocating for the worst conclusion for its leader and expect that negotiation to succeed,” said Senator Markey. “When Vice President Mike Pence and National Security Advisor John Bolton declared that Libya was a model for persuading North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program, they confirmed Kim Jong Un’s deep-seated fears that the upcoming negotiations would be nothing more than a tactic to invade and disarm his country, with Kim standing in for Moammar Gaddafi. President Trump did little to disavow this irresponsible and inflammatory declaration from his advisors, and has approached this summit from the outset with naivete and inconsistency. President Trump should learn from past negotiations and engage in sustained diplomacy that will overcome the trust deficits forged by war and hardened by decades of hostility.
“I urge President Trump not to continue with the kind of threatening rhetoric that he used today in his letter, as it only serves to enflame and destabilize the region. This summit was going to be the beginning of talks between the nations, not a conclusion. We should continue to push for direct diplomatic negotiations, backed by economic pressure. While the challenges to a lasting agreement with North Korea are great, we should not abandon diplomacy.”