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 6, 2017) – As President Donald Trump prepares to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) is 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. In a letter sent today to President Trump, Senator Markey argued that Chinese unwillingness to impose sanctions on North Korea’s economy, along with America’s reluctance to engage in direct talks with North Korea, has led to years of stalemate in which North Korea dramatically advanced its nuclear weapons program. The Senator argues for reviving a diplomatic process and directly negotiating with North Korea, coupled with guarantees by the Chinese to increase economic pressure if Pyongyang refuses to negotiate in good faith to constrain and eventually give up its nuclear program.

“This coordinated initiative could force North Korea to make real denuclearization concessions, while providing a win for both China and the United States,” writes Senator Markey, top Democrat on the East Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Given the danger and futility of a military solution to the North Korean nuclear threat, a diplomatic process brokered by the United States and China represents one of the few remaining chances to halt and eventually roll back North Korea’s nuclear and missile progress.”

A copy of Senator Markey’s letter can be found HERE

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.