Today, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) returned from a Congressional trip to South Korea and Japan, where he met with leaders to discuss our security in the region. During his trip, Thompson inspected the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between South Korea and North Korea, discussed defenses with General Vincent K. Brooks, met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, and attended numerous briefings related to national defense.
"Now more than ever, we must work arm-in-arm with our allies to preserve the security of the region," said Thompson. "North Korea's failed missile launch this weekend is not the end of their attempts to develop weapons capable of striking us here in America--and they are already capable of attacking our allies in South Korea and Japan. This is a complex and ongoing situation, and it cannot be solved by issuing threats or sending a single boat into the region. Maintaining stability will take a united coalition. It will require thoughtful, appropriate responses to North Korea's aggression, not a unilateral approach. Neither the United States nor the President should act unilaterally whenever military force is concerned. Both Congress and our allies in the region have a role to play in any action."
Tensions have continued to climb between the United States and North Korea throughout the week. Yesterday, North Korea tried and failed to launch a medium-range ballistic missile. Their nuclear and missile programs remain in development.
During his trip, Thompson:
Toured the Yokosuka U.S. Naval Base in Japan
Attended roundtable discussions on East Asian security and the implications for the United States
Met with Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan
Met with Members of South Korea's Parliament
Toured the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea
Attended roundtable discussions on economic and security concerns on the Korean peninsula
Met with North Korean defector Thae Yong-ho, former North Korean deputy ambassador to the United Kingdom and the highest-ranked official to defect