Congressman Sherman Statement on North Korea Summit
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Ranking Member of the Asia Pacific Subcommittee, issued this statement after President Trump concluded a summit with Kim Jong-un in Singapore:
“As could be expected, Trump and Kim signed a statement vague on details. In fact, it is almost devoid of details, such as timetables or concrete commitments, and the structure for future talks is not laid out with any specificity. Kim gets equal status at a meeting with the U.S. president, and we get vague platitudes about denuclearization. What has Kim really promised? Where’s the beef?
“We have only an inkling of a process to move forward. And of course, Kim simply reaffirmed his commitment to “denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” which is a phrase favored by the North Koreans that does not mean simply that North Korea will give up its nuclear program.
“Meanwhile, Kim has scored a propaganda victory. Not only did he achieve something neither his father or grandfather could – a summit with the President – but he also was praised as “talented” and as someone who “loves his country” by Trump. All this while North Korea maintains labor camps and denies its people basic human rights.
“The process going forward is simply this: Secretary Pompeo will meet with North Korean officials soon. If and when this happens, his first priority must be to codify a full freeze of North Korea’s program, especially including fissile material production – the production of bomb fuel – and the fabrication of additional weapons.
“We will also need the North Koreans to provide us with a full declaration of their nuclear program – something they have promised in the past but have shirked. This needs to come at the beginning of the process, as without it, progress on actual denuclearization cannot be realistically achieved.
“While Trump said the U.S. has committed to stop “provocative” military exercises – a major win for Kim, for which we gained nothing – he also said that sanctions will remain in place for now. Economic pressure remains our most important leverage. The Chinese have already begun talk of easing sanctions. This must be resisted until we have concrete achievements on the ground in North Korea.
“The way forward will be tough, and serious roadblocks are almost certain to arise. Congress must be involved and committed to making this work. At the same time, we need to pressure the Administration not to give up too much, too soon.
“This could have been a disaster, and it was not. We could have achieved much more, but we did not.”