Austin American-Statesman: Members of Congress react to Trump plan to meet Kim Jong Un
AHN YOUNG-JOON People watch a TV screen showing images of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, center, and U.S. President Donald Trump at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, March 7, 2018. After years of refusal, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is willing to discuss the fate of his atomic arsenal with the United States and has expressed a readiness to suspend nuclear and missile tests during such talks, a senior South Korean official said Tuesday. Korean letters on the screen read: “Thawing Korean Peninsula.” (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
- Lawmakers welcome the move but remain skeptical about North Korea.
- North Korea may be succumbing to economic sanctions.
President Donald Trump surprised the world Thursday by accepting North Korea leader Kim Jong Un’s invitation to meet and discuss the Asian nation’s nuclear program. Members of Congress from Central Texas reacted to historic announcement.
Here’s what they said:
• “Diplomacy as a means to a peaceful solution to the North Korean nuclear crisis is welcomed and should be supported. But the reality is North Korea’s track record of deceit is not lost on Congress nor this administration. As such, any talk of peace must translate into an end of the Kim regime’s destabilizing activities, and denuclearization, coupled with strong international verification to ensure the regime is acting in good faith. In the meantime, President Trump and his administration must stand firm in not providing an ounce of economic relief to North Korea until it has proven themselves trustworthy, and that their diplomatic overtures are genuine and will result in a stable, denuclearized peninsula.” — U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin
• “May meetings are better than May missiles. Most any step that slows the march to a catastrophic war represents a positive development. But the prospect of the ever vacillating, uninformed, impulsive, and easily flattered Donald Trump negotiating anything important is a little scary. So far he has made a giant concession to North Korea in elevating its status to international equal with this presidential summit, rewarding North Korea’s nuclear program, while getting little in return. Many uncertainties surround this coming together of two different, authoritarian figures with giant egos. Like any other Trump endeavor, let’s keep our expectations reasonable, hoping for a breakthrough instead of a breakdown that takes us even closer to war.” — U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin
• “North Korea’s decision to engage in direct talks is evidence of an effective foreign policy. President Trump’s enforcement of congressionally approved sanctions is providing an opportunity for a potential diplomatic easing of tensions in the region.” — U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio
“Despite the media’s portrayal of President Trump, he has once again shown his leadership in making the world safer by bringing Kim Jong Un to the table. The North Korean nuclear threat has been a concern for the United States for many years. I am glad Kim Jong Un is now committed to denuclearization and pledges to stop nuclear missile tests. I am confident President Trump’s approach to dealing with this crisis will continue to work until North Korea is completely denuclearized.” — U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi