Elected officials want success, but are cautious about talks between Trump and Kim


By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Elected officials said they wanted the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to be successful, but are cautious about the outcome.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, said: “Diplomacy should be the cornerstone of any foreign policy. Backed by a strong military, diplomacy is essential to our efforts to build a safer, more prosperous world. That diplomacy, however, must be carried out wisely and in cooperation with our allies. I share the administration’s goals of complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the North Korean regime. Regrettably, it seems that we have nothing today to show for our efforts other than a toothless statement and the same promises that the North Korean regime has already given and broken many times over to previous presidents.

Ryan added: “On the other side, the North Koreans were given legitimacy on the world stage, and a compulsive assurance from President Trump that the U.S. would suspend joint military exercises with South Korea. This concession from Trump to North Korea is deeply concerning.”

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson of Marietta, R-6th, said: “I applaud President Trump and those on his team working tirelessly to address the real and growing North Korean nuclear threat. The strategy used by previous administrations, both Republican and Democratic, clearly did not work, and it was time for a new approach. I’m hopeful that real progress was made in Singapore; the past does not have to dictate the future. And, I am heartened to see that President Trump will be keeping the strict sanctions in place on North Korea until the actions of Kim Jong Un match his words.”

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from the Cincinnati area, said: “I have long called for a direct dialogue between our two countries. I have also supported the summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un with the goal of achieving a peaceful solution that includes North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons. I am hopeful that the negotiations can achieve these goals. In the past, however, North Korea has used talks to stall while continuing its nuclear and missile programs, and empty promises cannot buy any more time.”

Portman added: “Following this historic summit I remain skeptical but hopeful that this new dialogue can translate into meaningful progress.”

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Cleveland Democrat, said: “We all want these negotiations to succeed, and I’m glad the president had a positive meeting with Kim Jong Un. But we’ve heard empty promises from the North Koreans before, so we must continue to hold them accountable with tough sanctions until we see proof the North Koreans are taking real steps to dismantle their nuclear weapons program.”

Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, said: “Americans welcome the fact that President Trump has begun discussions with Kim Jong Un of North Korea. But we must remain vigilant. The Singapore arrangements are long on form and short on substance and leave much to be done. North Korea has a history of misleading the West and backing away from agreements. Many previous attempts have failed. Promises from North Korea don’t matter; we should not back off our economic and political pressure until there is a verifiable agreement and implementation has begun. None of this came out of the talks in Singapore.”

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