January 31, 2018

Duckworth Statement on Trump Administration’s Withdrawal of Victor Cha to Be Ambassador to South Korea


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) released the following statement in response to reports that the Trump administration withdrew their selection of Mr. Victor Cha to be the next U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea after he expressed opposition to the use of a “bloody nose” narrow military strike against north Korea. Mr. Cha has since written an op-ed warning the Trump administration not to launch a preventive military strike against north Korea since it could needlessly put countless lives at risk and quickly escalate into nuclear war.

“I've been ringing the alarm bells about Donald Trump recklessly pushing us towards war with North Korea for months, and this is yet another reason for every American to worry,” said Senator Duckworth. “We have reached a point where opposing war as the first resort seems to be a disqualifier from serving as Ambassador—a role literally intended to prevent war—in one of the most tenuous regions of the world. This is a deeply troubling development and a setback for diplomacy. Now more than ever, our diplomatic mission in South Korea needs permanent leadership in order to advance our nation's interests. The Trump administration's rejection of Mr. Cha’s warning that a preemptive military strike risks nuclear war and their failure to nominate an ambassador to South Korea after more than a year in office sends a terrible message to our allies and endangers the lives of state department officials and servicemembers currently serving in Korea.”

Duckworth recently delivered a keynote address at Georgetown University on the dangers of rushing to war with north Korea after returning from an official trip to the Korean Peninsula, where she met with military leaders, diplomats and toured the DMZ. Citing the lack of public debate before she deployed to Iraq, Duckworth has also called on President Trump to share declassified estimates of how many American servicemembers and innocent civilians would lose their lives if we went to war with north Korea. And she helped introduce legislation with Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) to prevent President Trump from launching a preemptive strike against north Korea without authorization from Congress unless there is an imminent threat. The United States has roughly 80,000 servicemembers stationed in South Korea and Japan.