Senator Markey Commends State Department Willingness to Engage in Dialogue with North Korea and Reiterates Call for Direct Diplomacy


Date: Aug. 1, 2017
Location: Washington, DC

Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the East Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reiterated his call for a strategy of direct negotiations with North Korea coupled with increased economic sanctions on the country. Earlier today, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said about North Korea, "We are not your enemy ... but you are presenting an unacceptable threat to us, and we have to respond. And we hope that at some point they will begin to understand that and we would like to sit and have a dialogue with them."

"Secretary Tillerson's comments welcoming dialogue with North Korea and seeking China's assistance in ensuring productive discussions is an important signal from America's top diplomat," said Senator Markey. "The Secretary's assurances that "We do not seek a regime change, we do not seek a collapse of the regime, we do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula, we do not seek an excuse to send our military north of the 38th Parallel,' are an important first step, but not sufficient to bring North Korea to the table. President Trump should work with China to talk directly with North Korea, while threatening drastic tightening of American and Chinese sanctions if they fail to stop their nuclear program. Only a combination of military deterrence, economic pressure, and diplomacy can stop North Korea from further developing its dangerous arsenal and offers a diplomatic way forward to a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons."

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 ban any entity that does business with North Korea or its enablers from using the United States financial system and to impose U.S. sanctions on all those participating in North Korean labor trafficking abuses.