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Sen. Mark Warner Joins Top Senators in Outlining Conditions for Any Deal with North Korea

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From Sen. Mark Warner:

WARNER JOINS TOP SENATORS IN OUTLINING CONDITIONS FOR ANY DEAL WITH NORTH KOREA

~ Senators say sanctions relief should be contingent on complete denuclearization, destructions of test sites, end of ballistic missile, & more ~ 

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, joined top Senate Democrats in sending a letter to President Trump outlining conditions for lifting sanctions as part of any deal with North Korea. The new letter comes ahead of the expected summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, and specifically lists five principles through which the Senators plan to evaluate any deal the President makes with North Korea. The Senators also say that Congress must act as a check on any agreement that does not live up to these principles by imposing tougher sanctions and oversight and the Trump administration must engage Congress throughout any diplomatic process – both before and after the possible summit – given the magnitude of this effort.

In order to earn the support of these Senate leaders for any deal that provides sanctions relief to North Korea, Sen. Warner and others specifically outlined in the letter to President Trump that a deal with North Korea must:

  1. Dismantle or remove every single one of North Korea’s nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons;
  2. End the production and enrichment of uranium and plutonium for military purposes, and permanently dismantle North Korea’s nuclear weapons infrastructure. This includes the destruction of test sites, all nuclear weapons research and development facilities and enrichment facilities;
  3. Suspend all of North Korea’s ballistic missile tests and disable, dismantle and eliminate all of North Korea’s ballistic missiles and programs.
  4. Commit to robust compliance inspections including a verification regime for North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Inspections must have complete access to all nuclear related sites and facilities with real time verification of North Korean compliance.  A separate compliance regime for its chemical and biological weapons that prevents, detects and punishes cheating on the part of North Korea is also necessary.  These compliance regimes must include “anywhere, anytime” inspections and snap-back sanctions if North Korea is not in full compliance;
  5. Be permanent, without any sunsets.

In addition to Sen. Warner, the letter was signed by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Menendez, Assistant Senate Democratic Leader and Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense Ranking Member Dick Durbin, Senate National Security Working Group Co-Chair Dianne Feinstein, Senate Appropriations Committee Vice-Chair and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Ranking Member Patrick Leahy, and Senate Committee on Banking Housing and Urban Affairs Ranking Member Sherrod Brown.

The full text of the letter appears below.

The Honorable Donald J. Trump

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC  20500 

Dear Mr. President:

As you prepare for your June 12 meeting with Kim Jong Un, we write to express our desire for a diplomatic solution which provides for the complete dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, as well as a broader process to address North Korea’s extensive military arsenal and to set the conditions for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.  A successful diplomatic agreement with North Korea, along with our allies South Korea and Japan and in cooperation with China, would represent an historic accomplishment for our nation.

It is widely recognized that North Korea has been seeking to develop the ability to launch a nuclear attack against the United States and Kim Jong Un has threatened to do so. In his May 24 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary Pompeo stated that the goal of the administration’s policy is that “we are looking for the complete dismantlement of their weapon systems, the delivery capability associated with that, and all of the elements of their program that would lead them to have material that could be used at some time to build out a weapon system.” 

In order to achieve the goal of the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and key missile programs, and as you develop your administration’s policy and strategy in advance of your on-again, off-again, and now seemingly on-again meeting with Kim Jong Un in Singapore, we therefore urge you to consider the following principles and goals for U.S. diplomacy and policy with regards to North Korea.

First, any agreement with North Korea must build on the current nuclear test suspension and ultimately include the dismantlement and removal of all nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons from North Korea.  Sanctions relief by the U.S. and our allies should be dependent on dismantlement and removal of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.  Any deal that explicitly or implicitly gives North Korea sanctions relief for anything other than the verifiable performance of its obligations to dismantle its nuclear and missile arsenal is a bad deal.

China, we believe, will continue to play a critical role if North Korea moves to halt, dismantle, and remove its nuclear weapons, and we urge you to maintain a tough approach to China to assure that it, in turn, will do all it can to help secure an agreement and then insist on strict North Korean compliance with such an agreement.

Second, our goal must be the full, complete and verifiable denuclearization of North Korea. This must include the removal of all nuclear weapons and military-related fissile material from North Korea; ending the production and enrichment of uranium and plutonium for military programs; and permanently dismantling its nuclear weapons infrastructure, including test sites, all nuclear weapons research and development facilities, particularly with respect to advanced centrifuges, and nuclear weapons enrichment and reprocessing facilities.  North Korea must also put forward a full, complete and verifiable declaration of all its nuclear activities. Robust restrictions should also be in place to assure that nuclear material, technology, and expertise are not exported, and that North Korea will be unable to attempt to reverse course.

Third, North Korea must continue its current ballistic missile tests suspension, including any space launch. Ultimately, since North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is so advanced, any agreement must include the dismantlement of ballistic missiles and a prohibition on all ballistic missile development. In addition, sufficient safeguards must be in place to assure that no ballistic missiles and associated technology are proliferated or exported.   

Fourth, North Korea must commit to robust compliance inspections including a verification regime for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.  Inspectors must have complete access to all nuclear-related sites and facilities with real time verification of North Korean compliance.  A separate compliance regime for its chemical and biological weapons programs that prevents, detects and punishes cheating on the part of North Korea is also necessary.  These compliance regimes must include “anywhere, anytime” inspections, including of all non-declared suspicious sites, and snap-back sanctions if North Korea is not in full compliance.

Finally, to be truly complete, verifiable and irreversible, any agreement with North Korea must be permanent in nature.

To be successful in such an ambitious undertaking, our regional allies – in particular the Republic of Korea and Japan – are indispensable to our success.  No concessions should be granted that could undermine our core alliance commitments or our posture in the region.

We likewise believe, given the complexity of this effort, that the Administration should engage Congress throughout any diplomatic process. To ensure that Congress remains fully informed as negotiations proceed, we would therefore like to work with you and your administration to establish a process for regular and substantive briefings, including classified briefings, on U.S. policy and strategy both prior to your meeting with Kim Jong Un as well as regular briefings thereafter, including full engagement with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the National Security Working Group.  Should your administration develop any agreements requiring Senate consideration we of course look forward to working with you to assure appropriate review and disposition in Congress.

Meeting the challenge of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, building peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, and addressing other critical matters, including North Korea’s human rights practices, are issues of longstanding concern to the American people as well as our allies and partners. We believe that Congress therefore has an important role to play in working with the administration to support your efforts and to shape U.S. policy toward North Korea.  However, we also believe that Congress must act as a check on any agreement that does not live up to these principles by imposing tougher sanctions and oversight. Democrats will look to the standards outlined in this letter as we examine whether North Korea should be granted sanctions relief.

We look forward to your thoughts both on the substance of policy and the principles we have outlined, as well as on how to best proceed with establishing a regular and substantive process for congressional engagement and consultation with your administration on these issues.  We look forward to working alongside you in the weeks and months ahead in pursuit of an agreement that effectively addresses the threat of a nuclear-armed North Korea in a manner that enhances the security of the United States, our allies, and the world.

Sincerely,

Robert Menendez
United States Senator

Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator

Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator

Mark R. Warner
United States Senator

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

Patrick Leahy
United States Senator

Sherrod Brown
United States Senator