U.S. Representative Young Kim (CA-39) warned the Biden administration of the consequences of offering a unilateral end-of-war declaration for the Korean War without firm commitments and progress from the Kim regime to support a complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea and respect the basic human rights of the North Korean people.
Congresswoman Kim led a letter alongside House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Michael McCaul (TX-10) and 33 colleagues to U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Special Representative to North Korea Sung Yong Kim in strong opposition to calls for an end-of-war declaration for the Korean War, which would undermine and destabilize the security of the Korean peninsula.
Kim grew up in South Korea in the aftermath of the Korean War, is one of the first Korean American women to serve in Congress and serves as Vice Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia and Nonproliferation. She has fought for North Korean human rights issues and to reunite Korean Americans with their loved ones in North Korea long before coming to Congress. She wrote an op-ed in the Washington Examiner on steps the Biden administration should take to pressure the Kim regime and strengthen our trilateral relationship with South Korea and Japan, which can be found here.
“Maintaining peace requires both sides to actively work to keep it. Kim Jong-un has proven time and time again to be an unreliable negotiator, and we must realize we’re dealing with a regime that cannot be trusted,” said Congresswoman Kim. “An end-of-war declaration for the Korean War without commitment from the Kim regime on complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea will destabilize security in the Korean Peninsula and cede the negotiating leverage of the United States, South Korea and our allies to the Kim regime. I will continue to urge the Biden administration against an end-of-war declaration and promote initiatives that will secure lasting peace and security on the Korean peninsula.”
Other cosigners of the letter include Reps. Michelle Steel (CA-48), Chris Smith (NJ-04), Steve Chabot (OH-01), Brian Babin (TX-36), Mike Gallagher (WI-08), Kat Cammack (FL-03), Bill Johnson (OH-06), Claudia Tenney (NY-22), Louie Gohmert (TX-01), Michael Waltz (FL-06), Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Bill Huizenga (MI-02), Brad Wenstrup (OH-02),Glenn Thompson (PA-15), Darrell Issa (CA-50), Dan Meuser (PA-09), Burgess Owens (UT-04), Tim Burchett (TN-02), Julia Letlow (LA-05), Diana Harshbarger (TN-01), Adrian Smith (NE-03), Mark E. Green, M.D. (TN-07) Ashley Hinson (IA-01), Andrew Garbarino (NY-02), Andy Barr (KY-06), Bob Latta (OH-05), Steve Womack (AR-03), Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Jeff Duncan (SC-03), Ken Calvert (CA-42), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02) and Peter Meijer (MI-03).
Excerpts from the letter can be found HERE or below:
We write to you today regarding recent calls by South Korean and U.S. politicians to support a formal end of war declaration for the Korean War as a catalyst for resuming dialogue with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). We are gravely concerned that this declaration, instead of promoting peace, would seriously undermine and destabilize the security of the Korean peninsula. We also support the measured approach you have demonstrated thus far and urge you to engage with your South Korean counterparts on the clear dangers and risks of this strategy.
In order to have peace, both sides must be determined to keep it. Thus far, Kim Jong-un has shown no interest in pursuing an end of war declaration, which he has personally labeled as “premature.” Kim has repeatedly stated that sanctions relief must be a first order priority before peace talks while continuing to launch missiles and further develop North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Arguments in favor of the declaration as a means of bringing North Korea back to the table for negotiation have fallen on deaf ears in Pyongyang.
Further, there is no historical precedent to support the theory that the Kim regime would abide by the terms of a peace agreement. The DPRK has repeatedly violated binding agreements with South Korea, the U.S., and the United Nations, and continues to engage in illegal activity to skirt sanctions on its nuclear weapons program and egregious human rights abuses. Pyongyang also frequently violates the longstanding armistice between North and South and has repeatedly declared it as null and void.
An end of war declaration also poses serious risks for U.S. forces on the peninsula and the stability for the region. A premature peace treaty would provide a predicate for the DPRK to demand the dismantlement of the U.S. Forces South Korea and the U.S. withdraw its 28,500 troops from South Korea, given that their purpose is to deter aggression from the North, and call for the permanent termination of annual U.S.-ROK joint military exercises. Our military presence in South Korea includes Camp Humphreys, the largest overseas U.S. military base in the world, and plays an essential role in promoting regional security and deterrence against the DPRK, Russia, and the People’s Republic of China. Opening the door for considering for the removal of U.S. troops from the Korean peninsula before the North has fully denuclearized would have disastrous consequences for U.S. national security, erode our combined deterrence, and jeopardize the lives of tens of millions of Americans, Koreans, and Japanese.
Declaring an end to hostilities should come at the culmination of comprehensive and long-term talks with North Korea after eliminating its nuclear arsenal and demonstrating verifiable improvements on its human rights record. It should not be offered as an attempt to initiate talks with an uncertain endgame and strategy.
The U.S. should continue to work closely with South Korea and Japan in balancing against security threats from North Korea and work with the UN and our allies to enforce existing sanctions on the DPRK and its elites to bring them back to the negotiating table. This strategy should also include persuading the People’s Republic of China to exert actual financial and political pressure on Kim and his inner circle.
Peace cannot be achieved through words alone. It requires action and binding guarantees to hold. We must be able to trust that North Korea will fulfill potential commitments to full denuclearization, cease illicit activity, and improve its human rights record. Granting the Kim regime unilateral concessions which substantially weaken the position of the United States, Korea, and our allies to resist its aggression would be premature and dangerous to our shared interests. We urge you to reject calls to declare an end to hostilities until these conditions are met.
Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to your reply.