Mr. Speaker, the cause of the Korean people is essential—not just from a national security perspective but also from a moral obligation as Christians. It is the duty of the free to demand justice for those who suffer under tyranny. 

For decades, the North Korean regime has silenced its people and subjected thousands to the most brutal conditions on Earth. The horrific repression of the Kim family is no secret, but lately the focus has been dominated by the nuclear threat. 

This is a crucial challenge which we must address. But it must not come at the cost of the Korean people.

What would we say to God if we turned our backs on them? That we would have liked to help but we were too worried about our own well-being? This would be unacceptable.

We must not shut the door on their hopes for freedom so that we can live in peace. History has taught us that no man, woman, or child is safe so long as tyrants are able to rule. 

North Korea is only the most recent example of this enduring lesson. The Kim regime has ruled the hermit kingdom for three generations, and throughout that time it has crushed all the liberties and human rights of the North Korean people to preserve its power.

With unrivaled power over the North, the regime has turned its cruelty towards the outside world. By building nuclear weapons, the regime can hold all of humanity hostage.

Kim Jong Un is hoping through nuclear blackmail, he can force other nations into accepting his rule and his demands. Addressing the nuclear threat cannot be separate from ensuring human rights for all Koreans. 

The regime must be held to account for its abuses, despite the dangers. We must not be naive in talks with this evil regime.

Many past presidents wanted to believe we could reason with them. But the Kims achieved their power through violence and oppression.

Absolute control is what they are accustom to, so negotiating a mutual peace with the world achieves little for them. For the regime, peace is only acceptable when we remove sanctions, normalize relations, and accept the unfettered imprisonment of the Korean people. 

But we cannot accept this. We will not be bullied or bargain away the future of Korea’s children.

They are entitled to the same freedom and respect which our children enjoy. As we move forward in pursuing denuclearization on the Korean peninsula, we must also advocate for the rights of the Korean people. 

For our freedom from fear is inevitably linked to the freedom of the Korean people. Democracies and free societies do not act like this regime—and certainly do not threaten other people’s children to achieve their own goals. 

That is what terrorists do. We must also keep in mind the broader implications of a deal with the regime.

If we reward the Kim dynasty for their development of nuclear arms, we will be setting a precedent for all dictators around the world. They will see that threatening the lives of millions with nuclear weapons brings rewards and acceptance by the international community.

If a deal must be made, it must require safeguards and direct humanitarian assistance for the Korean people. Kim Jong Un cannot be permitted to use our gestures of good will as a weapon against his people. 

One day the Korean people will be united in freedom and security. We have it in our power to work towards that goal. 

The first step requires us not rewarding the regime’s threats.

And that’s just the way it is.