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Video: Rep. Spanberger Calls for Smart U.S. Diplomacy with North Korea, Presses Administration to Hold Regime Accountable for Human Rights Abuses

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From Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA07):

Spanberger Calls for Smart U.S. Diplomacy with North Korea, Presses Administration to Hold Regime Accountable for Human Rights Abuses

Last Month, Spanberger Was Selected to Serve on a Key Subcommittee Focused on Overseeing U.S. Foreign Policy & Strategy in Asia, Examining Legislation to Prevent the Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today pushed for an engagement strategy with North Korea that mitigates the North Korean nuclear threat, reassures U.S. allies, lowers tensions, and protects U.S service members and their families in the Asia-Pacific region.

Last month, a group of U.S. intelligence officials—including U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Gina Haspel—testified before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is unlikely to order the elimination of his country’s nuclear weapons development program. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, there are approximately 20 undeclared missile bases currently operating within North Korea.

During a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation, on which Spanberger serves, Spanberger pushed for the administration to pursue effective denuclearization steps, respect the assessments of career public servants in the intelligence community, and hold North Korea accountable for its human rights abuses amid ongoing talks. Click here for a video of her remarks.

“The North Korean regime continues to pose a serious security threat to U.S. interests at home and abroad. Ahead of this week’s summit in Hanoi, we must also recognize how North Korea’s belligerent, destabilizing behavior endangers our longstanding allies in the region and threatens our own country,” said Spanberger. “I’m strongly in favor of pursuing diplomatic, negotiated solutions. However, Kim Jong Un has repeatedly demonstrated that he cannot be trusted. I therefore believe we should always view his intentions with incredible skepticism.”

“As the United States weighs its diplomatic, economic, and deterrence options to push back against North Korean aggression and promote peace on the Korean Peninsula, we need to pursue a smart, tough strategy—informed by U.S intelligence—that protects the lives of U.S. service members in South Korea and actually limits North Korea’s nuclear capabilities,” continued Spanberger. “Additionally, we need to avoid any concessions that could jeopardize the safety of our allies, and we cannot ignore Pyongyang’s long record of atrocious crimes committed against its own people. As talks proceed, I’ll keep fighting to prevent American communities from living under the potential threat of North Korean missiles, nuclear weapons, and cyber aggression—and I’ll continue to voice my support for increased U.S. diplomatic engagement and improved coordination with our allies.”

Last month, Spanberger was selected to serve as a member of the Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation Subcommittee, where she is focused on keeping American families safe from a wide array of foreign threats and adversaries.

Earlier this month, Spanberger announced her appointment to serve as Co-Chair of the New Democrat Coalition National Security Task Force. As Co-Chair, Spanberger will focus on demonstrating the importance of American leadership abroad and reaffirming a commitment to the vital role of diplomacy and humanitarian assistance, including in the Asia-Pacific region.

Background

A former case officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, Spanberger is committed to reinforcing the importance of U.S. relationships with key allies in Asia, Europe, and around the world. Last month, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Support Act—which Spanberger helped introduce—overwhelmingly passed in the U.S. House. The bipartisan legislation would reinforce the U.S. commitment to its fellow NATO member states.

Since arriving in the House, Spanberger is working to champion diplomacy, human rights, and humanitarian assistance as key components of U.S. foreign policy. Last month, Spanberger was selected to serve as a member of two key subcommittees on the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee—the Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment Subcommittee and the Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation Subcommittee.