We Must Work Towards a Diplomatic Solution With North Korea

December 1, 2017 will forever mark a dark day for Hawai‘i, for our country, and the world. Today marks the first day of a new era, in which the lives and future of the people of our state have indelibly changed, as they’ll be reminded every month with nuclear warning siren tests that at any moment, we, our children, our families, and our precious ‘āina will be vulnerable to a nuclear attack from North Korea — with mere minutes notice.

I’ve been raising the issue of the increasing threat from North Korea ever since I came to Congress because the people of Hawai‘i have long known that North Korea’s continued growing capabilities put us squarely within range of their intercontinental ballistic missiles.

It is a travesty and a total failure of leadership, by both Republican and Democrat administrations, that their short-sighted policies over the last forty years have left the people of Hawai‘i and this country, our homes and communities, and generations to come, under the dark cloud of a nuclear threat from this point forward.

The only possible option to remove this dark cloud will come through the pursuit of serious diplomacy, and that will only be successful if two things happen. First, we must negotiate directly with North Korea and Kim Jong Un. Second, we have to understand why he is holding on so tightly to their nuclear weapons — it is because he sees them as his only deterrent from the US coming in and trying to topple his regime.

Kim Jong Un looks back to the US’ track record, and how we overthrew Saddam Hussein in Iraq because of false intelligence that he had weapons of mass destruction. He sees how even after Muammar Gaddafi in Libya was promised by the US that if he gave up nuclear weapons we wouldn’t go after him, we went after him anyway and took him out. He looks at what we have been and are still doing in Syria, trying to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad. He sees how the Trump administration and some in Congress are increasing their rhetoric to go after Iran and overthrow their government.

In order for serious negotiations to have a chance, our country must actually end our regime change war policies. This is necessary for North Korea to see that we are serious when we say we are not interested in toppling their regime, and that we are serious about achieving peace, stability, and prosperity in a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

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