Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the U.S. Foreign Relations Committee's East Asia Subcommittee, will lead a Congressional delegation with U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and U.S. Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12.) and Ann Wagner (MO-02) to Korea, Japan and China. The lawmakers plan to meet with elected leaders, military and government officials, and energy and technology companies, and many others to discuss the threat from North Korea to the region, security issues, diplomatic partnerships and economic development opportunities amongst the countries. The delegation will visit the China-North Korea border, as well as the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to receive a briefing and meet with personnel.
"The unity of purpose between the United States and our allies in South Korea, Japan, and China is critical in the face of Pyongyang's increasing nuclear threat," said Senator Markey. "By deepening our diplomatic, military, and economic cooperation, the United States and the nations of Japan, China, and South Korea will strengthen an alliance that remains a cornerstone of peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region. I look forward to meeting with officials and leaders in these nations to reaffirm our friendship and bolster cooperation."
"As a Senator from a Pacific-rim state, I am particularly concerned about the escalating rhetoric and dangerous actions of the Kim regime," said SenatorMerkley. "The solution to manage the growing threats and military capabilities of North Korea won't be found in bluster and saber-rattling. It is critical for the United States to join with our allies and others in the region to encourage diplomatic, thoughtful solutions and I look forward to expanding our dialogue with leaders in South Korea, Japan and China in pursuit of our shared security."
"The North Korean regime poses a grave threat to international security. The United States must engage in rigorous diplomacy, paired with tough sanctions, to resolve the nuclear threat," said Senator Van Hollen. "I look forward to meeting with our regional allies and partners -- South Korea, Japan, and China -- who are on the front lines of the threat and key to our ability to solve it. Together, we must quickly ramp up pressure to drive North Korea to the nuclear negotiating table."
"In light of North Korea's provocative actions to advance its nuclear capability and escalating tensions, it is important to reaffirm our alliances with Japan, South Korea, and China," said Rep. Maloney. "I'm grateful for this timely opportunity to visit with our allies in Asia to help strengthen all diplomatic lines of communication to resolve any issues affecting security in the region."
"North Korea is a destabilizing force that is threatening both our national security and the security of some our nation's staunchest allies. The cooperation and partnerships with South Korea, China, and Japan will be vital in working toward an end to North Korea's ongoing aggression. I look forward to meeting with officials from these countries as well as our U.S. representatives in the region to increase diplomatic engagement, expand and enforce sanctions and enhance military cooperation in the region," said Congresswoman Wagner.