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Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released a statement on the current situation with North Korea following President Trump's trip to the region:

“North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs represents a grave threat to our national security and that of our allies. In recent months, President Trump’s increasingly bellicose language and rejection of diplomacy has encouraged Kim Jung Un to respond in kind. The potential consequences of this heightened rhetoric are not simply soured alliances or reputational damage – they are nuclear war.

President Trump has expressed skepticism that diplomatic pressure can produce results and has consistently undermined the Secretary of State and the Department he leads. While I appreciate that the President toned down the rhetoric during his speech in Seoul, he has not laid out a comprehensive strategy to address the North Korean threat, which continues to grow.

More than three months ago, I helped to champion the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which was passed overwhelmingly by Congress and signed into law. This legislation included sanctions against Iran, Russia and North Korea for their aggressive and adversarial actions. This legislation authorized tough sanctions on the North Korean regime, and the promulgation of Executive Order 13810 and the re-designation of North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism help to increase pressure on the regime. However, the Administration has failed to appoint senior diplomats to the positions of Ambassador to South Korea and Assistant Secretary for East Asian Affairs, key positions for working with our allies to address this threat. I urge the Administration to devote additional resources to the State and Treasury Department offices responsible for sanctions implementation and enforcement.

The Administration must also pressure China to do more, including through additional designations of Chinese entities that help facilitate trade for the North Korean regime in violation of international sanctions, and the President’s visit to Beijing represents a missed opportunity. I believe Congress should pass S. 1591, the Banking Restrictions Involving North Korea (BRINK) Act, of which I am a co-sponsor. This bill would put additional pressure on China to restrict its resident companies and banks, which allow North Korea to maintain its access to the international financial system. This financial support has allowed the Kim regime to continue to fund its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and has restricted the international community’s leverage in nuclear negotiations.

The North Korean threat is too important to rely on “Twitter diplomacy.” Real diplomatic pressure is critical to addressing the threat that North Korea poses.”

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