Senators to Trump: Keep pressure on North Korea while exploring talks

Senators to Trump: Keep pressure on North Korea while exploring talks
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Six Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees are urging President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out 'subversion' at VA MORE to continue the so-called maximum pressure campaign against North Korea as the possibility of talks is explored.

“Mr. President, when it comes to the North Korean regime, we must verify before we trust,” the senators wrote in a letter to Trump on Thursday. “While we must take any credible opportunity to talk with Pyongyang about denuclearization, we must also never forget that the DPRK continues to represent a grave threat to the United States, our allies and global peace and stability.


“We ask that you respond to Congress in a timely manner regarding the administration’s strategy to engage the DPRK and your plan for a robust implementation of the maximum pressure campaign against this heinous regime.”

The letter was signed by Republican Sens. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe siren of Baton Rouge Senate confirms John Demers to head DOJ national security division Senate rejects bipartisan measure as immigration votes begin MORE (Colo.), James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeOvernight Defense: First Gitmo transfer under Trump could happen 'soon' | White House says Trump has confidence in VA chief | Russia concedes 'dozens' of civilians injured in Syria clash Pentagon budget euphoria could be short-lived House passes deal to end shutdown MORE (Okla.), James Risch (Idaho), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioColbert: Students taking action on gun violence 'give me hope' Lawmakers feel pressure on guns Florida lawmaker's aide fired after claiming shooting survivors were 'actors' MORE (Fla.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonTrump spars with GOP lawmakers on steel tariffs Overnight Regulation: Trump unveils budget | Sharp cuts proposed for EPA, HHS | Trump aims to speed environmental reviews | Officials propose repealing most of methane leak rule Trump budget seeks savings through ObamaCare repeal MORE (Wis.), and Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungKimmel writer tweets amount NRA has given lawmakers in response to shooting prayers NFL player who kneeled for national anthem tackles Capitol Hill 'externship' Senate Republicans call on Trump to preserve NAFTA MORE (Ind.).

The DPRK is an acronym for North Korea's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The letter comes as a high-level delegation from South Korea is in Washington to brief the Trump administration on their meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Earlier in the week, a South Korean delegation traveled to Pyongyang and became the first South Korean officials to meet with Kim since he took power in 2011.

On Tuesday, the South Korean envoys announced that Kim told them he is willing to begin negotiations with the United States on abandoning nuclear weapons and that he would suspend all nuclear and missile tests while engaged in talks.

The Trump administration and lawmakers greeted the offer cautiously, expressing both hope that talks can happen and skepticism at Kim’s sincerity.

In their letter, the senators said they were “encouraged” by the South Korean delegation’s report out of the meeting in Pyongyang.

But they urged Trump to also impose more unilateral sanctions on North Korea and conduct regularly scheduled military exercises with allies in the region.

“We believe that the U.S.-led sanctions campaign against the DPRK is essential to building the necessary leverage to incentivize the regime to peacefully relinquish its weapons of mass destruction,” they wrote. “We must continue to close every avenue of commercial activity with the regime, including by targeting businesses, financial institutions, and third-country nationals for secondary sanctions. These businesses must know that the cost of doing business with the DPRK is global financial isolation.”

Military options also have to remain on the table, they added.

“The DPRK must also know that while the United States and its partners are seeking to solve this crisis peacefully, we will not hesitate to defend the U.S. homeland, our troops in the region, and our treaty allies, with overwhelming military force,” they wrote. “The military option must remain on the table, it must be robust, and DPRK must be made fully aware of the consequences of their actions.”