WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, released the following statement Friday after North Korea acknowledged its fifth recent nuclear test:
“North Korea’s continued belligerence is unacceptable. Today’s test indicates a new level of development for their nuclear program, and underscores the grave and growing danger that North Korea presents to the regional and international community.
“We continue to strongly stand by our allies the Republic of Korea and Japan in support of their defense and security, and we must redouble efforts to hold North Korea accountable for its continued bad choices and flagrant violation of the will of the international community. We know that China has continued its substantial economic engagement with North Korea despite the passage of United Nations Security Resolution 2270. It is my sincere hope that China demonstrates its willingness to work with the Republic of Korea, the United States, Japan and others in the international community to impose – and implement – additional measures at the United Nations.
“North Korea’s actions today also underscores the importance of reinforcing the international norm against nuclear testing and the value of the international monitoring program established to detect and confirm nuclear explosions anywhere on the planet. Just yesterday many of my Republican colleagues informed the President they are willing to cut off funding to this vital program over their procedural concerns between the executive and legislative branches. That’s a broader debate we can and should have, but I hope my colleagues are paying attention to North Korea’s activities and will support international efforts to prevent nuclear testing.
“The United States should explore additional unilateral steps we can take to safeguard our nation, our people and our allies. For example, legislation I helped shepherd through the Senate earlier this year contains several additional authorities the administration can utilize. I look forward to consultations with the White House and my colleagues in the Senate in the days ahead as we unequivocally demonstrate to North Korea that its current path will not succeed.”