WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement Tuesday after the completion of a summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong un in Singapore:
“This is the beginning of a process toward an important objective – the complete, verifiable, permanent denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. And it is through diplomacy that we can ultimately achieve that goal. We’ve seen North Korean leaders make commitments in the past, and not lived up to them.
“The specifics are too few right now to see a crystal clear path forward, but there is a potential path. We now must seize the opportunity to end North Korea’s weapons program and prevent them from being able to restart it through verification and monitoring.
“Moving forward, I am looking for North Korea to make a complete declaration as to their nuclear weapons and missile programs, verify that those programs are frozen, allow international inspectors in to see exactly what is going on, and to agree to the removal of nuclear weapons and related materials from the country. And importantly, we need to hear a commitment as to what they’ll do in the future backed up by routine international inspections.
“Any agreement put to Congress – which the Administration has committed to and must follow up on – needs to address these issues with solid commitments: removal, inspections, verification, and importantly, underscoring that before any nuclear-related sanctions relief can take place, demonstrable progress toward those goals is underway.
“In the context of all of this, there are many other issues to address before we could ever have a normal relationship with North Korea, including Pyongyang’s atrocious violations of the North Korean people’s human rights and their non-nuclear belligerent behavior abroad. We start with denuclearizing North Korea and ending hostilities on the peninsula, but we cannot ignore other important issues longer term.
“So today was a start. I am mindful that Kim Jong Un has achieved a major, long sought objective: international legitimacy through a meeting with the President of the United States. President Trump’s effusive, repeated praise for the brutal dictator notwithstanding, in exchange for that meeting, we need real, verifiable progress toward ending Pyongyang’s nuclear program and bringing security and stability to the Korean Peninsula and the East Asia region. That work must begin without delay.”