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Kim asks Trump to tone down rhetoric on North Korea

Kim asks Trump to tone down rhetoric on North Korea
The border of South and North Korea is decorated with ribbons carrying messages wishing the reunification and peace.
Photo by Lee Jin-man/AP
By Gina Martinez

After months of issuing vague threats, state Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) and fellow Korean-American leaders are asking that President Donald Trump tone down his rhetoric and seek peace with North Korean dictator Kim Jung-Un.

Kim and 37 lawmakers signed a letter demanding the White House pursue peace and not war with North Korea last Friday. The letter specifically asks that Trump halt his increasingly reckless actions and statements on the North Korean nuclear issue.

The assemblyman said he was inspired to draft the letter after the president’s State of the Union Address and his announcement of even greater sanctions against North Korea. Kim said his constituents, a large percentage of whom are Korean-Americans, still have ties to family on the Korean peninsula, and he himself has relatives and extended family still living there.

Kim said Korean-Americans desperately want peaceful resolution and emphasized the harrowing reality that millions of lives were at stake. Since his inauguration, Trump’s foreign policy toward North Korea has been described as one of “maximum pressure.” Trump has taken to twitter, his preferred method of communication, to insult and threaten dictator Kim Jung Un. In an outrageous tweet he suggested nuclear warfare on North Korea threatened to release “fire and fury…the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

It was only just this February during the Olympic Games that tensions between South and North Korea appeared to be thawing. Prior to the commencement of the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, leaders from both countries met and negotiated, signaling a potential de-escalation following a year of sanctions and missile tests.

According to Kim and fellow legislators, despite these efforts at defusing tensions, Trump’s foreign policy in the Korean Peninsula threatens to undo any progress being made.

“This president is making the case for war and has been doing so for months,” Kim said. “His campaign of ‘maximum pressure’ has done little to solve the crisis but left millions of Americans in fear of imminent thermo-nuclear conflict. Many in the Korean-American community have expressed frustration with his dangerous statements, fearing they will only bring the two countries closer to war, with millions of Koreans caught in the crossfire. We must make it clear to the president that there are millions of Americans that do not agree with his methods, who want to find a solution that will de-escalate this conflict.”

Several statewide and national Korean American civic organizations, including the Council of Korean Americans, the National Unification Advisory Council and the Korean American Association of Queens, worked with Kim to craft the letter.

“It has become glaringly apparent in recent months that you have been seriously contemplating the use of military options against North Korea, and trying to sell the American people on this issue,” the letter said. “Our fellow Americans are alarmed by the dangerous and reckless words that have marked your presidency. For the sake of the more than 250,000 Americans living in South Korea and Japan, the 75 million Koreans on the peninsula, we ask that you end this destructive and impetuous behavior and rhetoric.”

Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart[email protected]cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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