Larsen Statement on Hopes for Hanoi Summit

Feb 26, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement in advance of the summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim, scheduled to take place in Hanoi, Vietnam on February 27 and 28:

“In the eight months since the first Summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim, the president professed he and Chairman Kim ‘fell in love’ and declared North Korea is ‘no longer a nuclear threat.’ I believe the first claim; I do not believe the second.

“In the January worldwide threat assessment, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence assessed North Korea is unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons. Where the first Summit lacked an agreed upon definition of complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, I hope the president uses this second Summit to address this massive obstacle.

“I was, and remain, critical of the president’s decision to unilaterally cancel planned military exercises between the United States and South Korean armed forces, and further calling them ‘provocative.’ I hope the president recognizes the importance of exercises with allies to enhance readiness and strengthen deterrence. These exercises serve as a symbol to both adversaries and allies worldwide.

“Diplomacy remains the only viable means of reducing the North Korean nuclear threat to the United States and our allies. The second summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim is an opportunity for the United States to secure specific, verifiable commitments from North Korea to decrease their nuclear program and increase transparency.

“It is my hope that the Hanoi Summit results in a clear, sequenced process that freezes and reduces the North Korean nuclear program in return for proportional concessions and establishes a clear diplomatic process for further negotiations.”