U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, Ranking Member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee, issued the following statement regarding recent developments on the Korean peninsula:
"The escalation of rhetoric from North Korea is dangerous and destabilizing. I urge the Obama administration to continue to stand by our allies in the region, especially South Korea, during this difficult time and ensure that Pyongyang realizes that threats will only further isolate North Korea from the rest of the world and will not be rewarded by outreach and engagement, as has far too often been the case in the past.
"We must remember that our concerns with North Korea extend well beyond the country's nuclear program. The regime keeps hundreds of thousands of its citizens in gulag-style concentration camps and expands its military complex while its people are left to starve. The real solution to this challenge will come only once all concerned parties realize that this odious regime is the problem and join the United States in pressuring China to change its policy of supporting Pyongyang.
"I am also concerned about recent press reports regarding the potential for nuclear cooperation between North Korea and Iran and urge the administration to explore every option to prevent this activity, including the use of its authorities to designate additional North Korean entities and international financial institutions that enable North Korea to provide assistance to Syria and Iran and that host regime assets. I also call on the Obama administration to relist North Korea as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, given North Korea's ongoing support to state sponsors Iran and Syria, including through terrorist entities such as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
"History will not look kindly upon us if we do not learn the lessons of our past mistakes on North Korea and do nothing to change the status quo."