Mr. Speaker, ending the nuclear threat in North Korea is within our reach. The maximum- pressure campaign has demonstrated some clear successes in pushing North Korea to the negotiating table and pausing its nuclear and missile tests.
This is serious progress, and if we maintain our focus on disarming Kim Jong-un, we can end this horrific danger. President Trump made history as the first United States President to meet with the leader of North Korea.
I applaud President Trump for prioritizing the North Korean challenge, which has major global implications beyond just our own security. The Singapore Summit is the first step toward the complete denuclearization of the North Korean peninsula.
North Korea has pledged their commitment to work toward this agreement. President Trump also reached an agreement to complete the recovery of United States’ Korean war dead in the Korean Peninsula.
This is, without a doubt, historic progress. I urge the White House to stand firm on ‘‘complete, verifiable, and irreversible’’ disarmament of North Korea. While this progress is promising, we must proceed with caution. This is not the first time the United States has attempted negotiations with this tyrannical state. In the aftermath of these preliminary negotiations, many questions do remain.
Will China and Russia hold firm on their commitments of applying sanctions to North Korea? China and Russia have continuously undermined our efforts against a range of global bad actors. Will a traditional nuclear deterrence work with North Korea?
If North Korea is able to produce nuclear weapons and use them to hold the world hostage and blackmail its neighbors, the world will become less safe. North Korea has played the United States for decades. Those days are over.
President Trump has made this clear to Kim Jong-un. We cannot afford the same mistakes that were made with the Iranian nuclear deal to provide relief to a regime that would spread terror and chaos with whatever money is earned from sanctions relief. No more billions of American dollars secretly given to a rogue regime in the darkness of night on an isolated airstrip, like our Government did with Iran.
We all want to disarm this evil regime, but giving concessions for the sake of ending the nuclear threat carries its own risk and moral dilemmas. Ensuring that Kim is able to hold on to power and continue to enslave his people presents massive problems. It seems to me that Kim’s goal is to remain in power. He does not want the same fate as Muammar Qadhafi. There are other issues that need to be resolved.
The regime still possesses a massive chemical, biological, and conventional arsenal that is capable of mass murder and destruction. The regime still desires to reunify the Korean Peninsula under its rule.
The regime still provides weapons technology to other bad actors like Iran and Syria. The regime is still the number one abuser of human rights in the world. Whatever outcome is achieved in further negotiations, we must not forget who we are dealing with.
The Kim dynasty is historically a brutal regime that remains a state sponsor of terror. We made the mistake of removing this label, believing North Korea negotiated in good faith. As we learned, they lied. Any agreements must have the most stringent verification safeguards.
We must preserve the presence of United States forces in South Korea and the South China Sea. International inspectors should have access to all sites in North Korea, no side deals, no holds barred.
Any indication of weakness by us or our allies will embolden the regime. Complacency has always been our enemies’ best friend. Expectations for future talks must remain realistic and vigilance sustained.
We still face many challenges ahead. North Korea must know they have no option but to change its ways. If we uphold our commitment to a peaceful and free world in steadfast alliance with our allies, we will overcome whatever challenge North Korea throws at the world.
The ‘‘Singapore Powwow’’ is the beginning of a realization for North Korea that they must denuclearize and move forward as a peaceful nation. I urge the President to be strong, be strong, of good courage, and bold in dealing with Kim.
We are on a path toward an unprecedented agreement, and the United States must not waver in our demand of complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization by North Korea.
And that is just the way it is.