June 08, 2018

Duckworth Statement on Upcoming Singapore Summit Between Donald Trump & Kim Jong Un


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – In advance of next week’s scheduled summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore, combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) issued the following statement:

“Reaching a successful diplomatic solution to the north Korean crisis has long been one of the most difficult and daunting challenges we face as a nation. We know that armed conflict with north Korea would be catastrophic and put the lives of countless civilians and American servicemembers at risk. I am relieved that Donald Trump appears, for the time being at least, to have paused the reckless rhetoric he’s been so eager to use over the last year and instead is seeking a diplomatic solution that achieves peaceful denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

“If and when he sits down with one of the world’s most inhumane dictators, I urge the President to remain clear-eyed about north Korea’s long history of violating previous denuclearization promises. He must not sell out our South Korean and Japanese allies or undermine our own national security interests in search of a dramatic television moment consisting of more style than substance. Details matter here and, when it comes to Kim Jong Un, could very well be the difference between life and death for millions of human souls in the region.

“Any agreement must instead lead to the dismantling of every aspect of north Korea’s nuclear missile program, including the country’s sizable fissile material stockpile. It must limit Kim Jong Un’s ability to threaten the people of South Korea and Japan with short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. And it must stop the north Korean government and its scientists from exporting its dangerous missile, nuclear, chemical and biological technology to belligerent actors in Syria, Iran and around the world. Given the conflicting signals Donald Trump has sent in recent weeks, I’d also remind the President that U.S. troops are not bargaining chips and any request to withdraw our forces from the Korean Peninsula should be tied solely to security dynamics in consultation with our allies.

“Securing these concessions from the Kim regime will be challenging. Effectively verifying that north Korea is following the terms of any agreement will be even harder. All of this is made more difficult by Trump’s failure to have a confirmed Ambassador to the Republic of South Korea and by the recent exodus of critical regional expertise from the State Department. Given how much is at stake, the Trump Administration must be transparent with the American people and keep Congress informed as negotiations with Kim Jong Un progress.”