Six Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees are urging President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 committee chair says panel will issue a 'good number' of additional subpoenas Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Biden nominates head of Africa CDC to lead global AIDS response 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 GardnerProtecting the outdoors: Three cheers for America's best idea Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Biden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program MORE (Colo.), James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Republican lawmakers warn against more military coordination with Russia Top Republican: General told senators he opposed Afghanistan withdrawal MORE (Okla.), James Risch (Idaho), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Gen. Milley faces his toughest day yet on Capitol Hill The Memo: Biden's immigration problems reach crescendo in Del Rio MORE (Fla.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonBiden sidesteps GOP on judicial vacancies, for now The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Liberal group launches campaign urging Republicans to support Biden's agenda MORE (Wis.), and Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungHow to fix the semiconductor chip shortage (it's more than manufacturing) Senate Democrats try to defuse GOP budget drama The 19 GOP senators who voted for the T infrastructure bill 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.”