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 Washington Post reported today that North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that could be put inside an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the United States. Senator Markey has been a leading voice in the Congress for a comprehensive strategy of direct negotiations with North Korea coupled with increased economic sanctions on Pyongyang and its enablers in order address the issue of North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.
"A miniature nuclear warhead in North Korea is a massive and unacceptable threat to the United States," said Senator Markey. "Instead of bluster and saber rattling, we need a coherent and comprehensive strategy from the Trump administration that focuses on immediate direct diplomacy and increased economic pressure, along with military deterrence with regional allies to confront this grave national security threat. Last weekend, the United Nations Security Council imposed sweeping new sanctions to slash North Korea's exports by upwards of $1 billion. The U.N. took an important step, but the Trump administration should not pat itself on the back and assume that it has done its job and that U.N. sanctions alone are sufficient. Instead, for these sanctions to be effective, the Trump administration must immediately work to ensure all countries quickly and fully implement them and must go even farther to pressure China, Russia, and North Korea's other enablers. President Trump must work to start direct and immediate talks with North Korea. We cannot afford to wait any longer. The consequences of inaction are too great."
Earlier this month, Senators Markey and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) introduced legislation to impose economic sanctions on North Korea and its enablers. The legislation would impose mandatory sanctions on any entity doing business with North Korea and cut those entities from the United States financial system. The legislation also imposes U.S. sanctions on all those participating in North Korean labor trafficking abuses and the ten largest, known Chinese importers of North Korean goods.