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Calling On North Korea To End Hostile Rhetoric And Activity Toward South Korea

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Florida for yielding.

At the outset, let me thank Chairman Berman and Ranking Member Ros-Lehtinen for the support they have given me on this resolution and for bringing it to the House floor. Also, let me thank my colleague from New York (Mr. Meeks) for being the prime cosponsor of the bill and for his support in pushing it forward. And of course Mr. Faleomavaega, who does a truly outstanding job as chairman of the subcommittee, I want to thank him as well.

Mr. Speaker, when I first introduced this resolution back in March, it was clear then, obviously, that Korea was a major threat to world stability and a major threat to the national security of the United States, and of course also to its Asian neighbors. Well, since then, the situation has only gotten worse. As Mr. Bilirakis pointed out, it has been step after step of aggressive action, provocative action, action defying world opinion, defying resolutions of the United Nations, and absolutely defying agreements that have been made with the Six Parties over the previous years.

Mr. Speaker, President Clinton reached out and tried to engage North Korea, President Bush obviously reached out and tried to engage North Korea, began the Six-Party Talks, made China a part of that process; and yet at every stage, when it comes to weaponizing uranium, plutonium and moving forward, North Korea has refused to respond in good faith. And when they do make a feeble attempt at good faith, it is obviously a ploy, and they renege as soon as any concession is made by the United States or any of our allies. So, Mr. Speaker, I think it is important that we send a message to the North Korean Government.

And let's be clear about this. When we are talking about the North Korean Government, we're really talking about an organized crime family masquerading as a state. Kim Jong Il defies every standard of decency that is built up in the community of nations. I think it is important to realize that, especially when North Korea is contrasted with the Republic of Korea, which has become a model democracy and it is such a strong and staunch ally of the United States.

So as we go forward, Mr. Speaker, I think it is important for the President and the Secretary of State to know that Congress will stand behind them if they have to take stronger action, if they have to really lean back and push back against North Korea. I think everything should be on the table. The fact is that we now have a situation where, with going forward with its nuclear program, North Korea really puts its neighbors in jeopardy, and perhaps soon after that Europe and the United States, with their missile system, with the delivery system, with the nuclear relationships. And I think everything should be on the table, including a very strong missile defense system. And we should have an open debate, put partisanship aside and stand together as Americans to confront what could be a mortal danger to our allies and also causing the situation in Asia to spiral out of control. I certainly think when Japan sees what North Korea is doing, as far as advancing its nuclear program, we could well see Japan considering a nuclear program. We have strong friends, such as Taiwan, who now will be in danger.

Also, it is time for China to realize that they have a major role to play in solving this crisis. The fact is, North Korea could not survive if it did not receive its energy and its food supplies from China. And China should realize that this game can only go on for so long where they somehow take a certain delight in North Korea antagonizing the United States. And also, they feel they can buy off North Korea with their food and energy, and they don't want refugees streaming across their border. But this has now gone beyond the stage where we are just talking and sitting down; we are talking about the very security of the United States being in danger here.

So, Mr. Speaker, I urge the adoption of this resolution. Yes, we have to continue constructive dialogue, we have to engage, to the extent we can, with North Korea; but the fact is that, as Mr. Bilirakis said, when the President reached out in good faith--President Clinton, President Bush, and now President Obama have reached out in good faith--the response to them has been an iron fist, it's been missiles, it's been rockets, and it's been weaponizing of nuclear fissile material.

So rather than be caught short, rather than our being victims of something which we should anticipate now, let us stand together, and I certainly reach out across the aisle so that all of us, as Republicans and Democrats and as Americans, can stand with the President as he goes forward, and hopefully he will, to stand up to this really blatant aggression, I believe, by North Korea and send a message to Kim Jong Il, whether it's him or his son, no matter who ends up controlling or calling the shots in North Korea, that it will be met by concerted action from the United States. And also call on countries such as China to start doing what they should be doing, and to reassure our allies such as Japan and Taiwan that the United States will do all it can to prevent and stop North Korea from becoming a nuclear power.

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