Lawmaker calls on President Trump to engage in direct negotiations with North Korea to reduce nuclear threat in coordination with escalation of Chinese sanctions on Pyongyang’s economy

Washington (April 14, 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 provocative declarations from both the Trump administration and North Korea about “pre-emptive strikes” and preemptive military action in the face of growing tensions between the two nations and the threat of another nuclear or missile test this weekend by Pyongyang.
“There is no military solution in North Korea, where a war could kill hundreds of thousands, even millions of people,” said Senator Markey. “Saber rattling will only bolster President Kim Jung Un’s desire to retain and expand his nuclear arsenal, and drastically increase the risk of a nuclear war. Instead, President Trump should work with China to talk directly with North Korea, while threatening drastic tightening of American and Chinese sanctions if they fail to stop their nuclear program. President Trump should think long and hard about the potentially catastrophic consequences of illegally rushing into a so-called ‘preventive war’ with North Korea. There is no path to a non-nuclear North Korea without diplomacy.”  
Last week, Senator Markey sent a letter to President Trump on the eve of this meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping calling for a coordinated Sino-American action, in which the United States agrees to engage in direct talks with North Korea, and China makes clear that Pyongyang’s failure to negotiate in good faith will result in a drastic escalation in the severity of Chinese sanctions. Senator Markey has 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.