Senator Markey Criticizes National Security Adviser McMaster Comments on Preparation for Preventive War" in North Korea


Date: Aug. 5, 2017
Location: Washington, DC

Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the East Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today sharply criticized White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster's public statement that the United States is preparing options for a "preventive war in North Korea". The Senator applauded the United Nations Security Council vote today to impose sweeping new sanctions on North Korea in response to the rapid development of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, including two recent tests of what North Korea reports are Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICMBs) capable of reaching the United States.

"General McMaster's comment today about preparing an option for so-called preventive war in North Korea is dangerous and destabilizing. Military experts assert that a proactive American attack would not destroy all of North Korea's nuclear and missile capabilities and would very likely provoke a war in which hundreds of thousands, if not millions, could die. We must not gamble the lives of so many innocent people, including American servicemembers and families, on a potential military catastrophe that, in the words of Secretary of Defense James Mattis would be the "worst kind of fighting in most people's lifetime'. Only through a combination of military deterrence, economic pressure, and diplomacy will we have a real chance to prevent North Korea from further developing its dangerous arsenal.

"But President Trump has yet to detail any coherent strategy for how to address this grave danger to the United States, our regional partners, and the entire world. We need the President to immediately outline a diplomatic engagement and economic sanctions strategy, and plan for military options that deter North Korean aggression and defend the United States and our allies. And the President needs to allow American diplomats to talk directly with North Korean diplomats so long as they freeze testing of their nuclear and missile programs. An immediate freeze in testing and developing nuclear and missile technology would stop North Korea from crossing the threshold to effective capability to deliver a nuclear warhead to the United States."