US Democrats have taken a stance against President Donald Trump’s remarks on North Korea that further provocation by Pyongyang will be met “with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
In a statement released on Tuesday, Senator Dianne Feinstein of the US state of California and the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee said that the president’s “bombastic” comments in response to North Korea’s reported successful miniaturization of nuclear warheads were unhelpful.
“Isolating the North Koreans has not halted their pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Feinstein said. “And President Trump is not helping the situation with his bombastic comments.”
“There is no question that North Korea is seeking to add a nuclear warhead to an ICBM capable of reaching the United States,” she added. “What this tells me is that our policy of isolating North Korea has not worked. The United States must quickly engage North Korea in a high-level dialogue without any preconditions. In my view, diplomacy is the only sound path forward.”
Brian Schatz, the Democratic senator of Hawaii, said in a tweet on Tuesday that Trump’s remarks were “unwise,” adding that “we need Ambassador to South Korea, Secretary for East Asia Affairs, and Secretary for Asian Pacific Security Affairs sent to Senate now.”
Senator Ben Cardin, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee in the House, said the US president’s comments “were not helpful and once again show that he lacks the temperament and judgment to deal with the serious crisis the United States confronts.”
“We should not be engaging in the same kind of blustery and provocative statements as North Korea about nuclear war,” Cardin noted.
Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, denounced Trump’s comments as “an absurd red line,” arguing that the latest promise to punish Pyongyang could weaken US credibility.
“President Trump has again undermined American credibility by drawing an absurd red line, committing to respond to North Korea’s bluster and missile tests with ‘fire and fury like the world has never seen,'” Engel said. “Make no mistake: North Korea is a real threat, but the president’s unhinged reaction suggests he might consider using American nuclear weapons in response to a nasty comment from a North Korean despot.”
“America’s security is based not just on the strength of our armed forces but on the credibility of our commander-in-chief,” Engel said. “Today President Trump’s reckless behavior and impulsive outburst undermined the security of the American people, and that of our friends and allies.”
Trump’s remarks came after North Korea’s warning that it will teach the United States a “severe lesson” with its nuclear weapons if Washington would dare to opt for military action against Pyongyang.
Since early July, the North has tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), which it says can hit the US mainland.
North Korea is under mounting international pressure over its missile and nuclear development programs, but it says it needs to continue and develop its missile force as a deterrent to defend the nation in the face of a possible military invasion by the US and its regional allies. Thousands of US soldiers are stationed in South Korea and Japan.
In recent weeks, the US has ratcheted up the rhetoric against the North and drafted a United Nations Security Council resolution that seeks to cut the country’s $3 billion annual export revenue by a third. The council unanimously adopted the sanctions resolution on Saturday.
The new sanctions block all exports of coal, iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore, as well as fish and seafood from the country over its recent missile tests.