WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding the most recent apparent nuclear test by North Korea:
"North Korea's apparent fifth nuclear test is another reckless action that threatens stability in the Asia-Pacific and further isolates the rogue regime. As the President reiterated, our commitment to our alliance partners in Northeast Asia is unbreakable. If the Kim regime believes that the United States and our partners will ever accept its nuclear weapons program as legitimate, they have made a grave miscalculation.
“Yesterday’s test is even more dangerous because on Monday, Kim’s regime tested three ballistic missiles, all landing within 250 kilometers of Japan. Escalation like this only adds to the reasons why deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) missile defense system in South Korea and close cooperation with our allies is so important. In fact, the House of Representatives just passed a resolution reaffirming the importance of the U.S.-Japan-South Korea strategic alliance.
"It has also become clearer and clearer that China lacks the political will to curb this threat. If China aspires to be a regional leader, Beijing needs to step up an address the region’s most pressing security threat: an irresponsible regime in Pyongyang. For the sake of global peace and security, China must fully enforce the global sanctions effort to curb Kim Jung Un’s illegal and dangerous nuclear weapons program.
"This situation also illustrates the delicacy of international affairs and the potential peril that nuclear weapons pose. That's why it's so shocking to hear an American Presidential candidate praise a ruthless dictator like Kim Jung Un, suggest that more countries should have access to these destructive devices, or treat their use with such a cavalier attitude. When it comes to North Korea or any other global crisis, America needs a steady hand on the tiller, not someone who admires strongmen and tyrants."
The last serious talks with North Korea on denuclearization, the Six Party Talks, ended in 2009. Since that time, Pyongyang has increased the frequency of their nuclear and missile tests. The most recent test is the fifth nuclear test and the largest to date, estimated at 10 kilotons and causing a magnitude 5.3 earthquake.
In July, the Obama Administration took an important step in designating Kim Jong Un, 10 other individuals and five entities responsible for serious violations of human rights in North Korea. In 2014, a United Nations Commission of Inquiry Report on human rights in the DPRK documented what they called “widespread gross human rights violations” to include extrajudicial killings, torture, and starvation. The Treasury Department took these actions in conjunction with the State Department’s issuance of a “Report on Serious Human Rights Abuses or Censorship in North Korea,” which was required by North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016.