Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is traveling with a bipartisan delegation of lawmakers to Korea, Japan and China. The delegation is working to strengthen partnerships with allies in the region as tensions between North Korea and the global community continue to rise.
“As a Senator from a Pacific-rim state, I am particularly concerned about the escalating rhetoric and dangerous actions of the Kim regime,” Merkley said. “The solution to manage the growing threats and military capabilities of North Korea won’t be found in bluster and saber-rattling. It is critical for the United States to join with our allies and others in the region to encourage diplomatic, thoughtful solutions and I look forward to expanding our dialogue with leaders in South Korea, Japan and China in pursuit of our shared security.”
The lawmakers, including U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and U.S. Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY-12.) and Ann Wagner (R-MO-02), plan to meet with elected leaders, military and government officials, and energy and technology companies, along with many others to discuss the threat from North Korea to the region, security issues, diplomatic partnerships and economic development opportunities amongst the countries. The delegation will visit the China-North Korea border, as well as the Demilitarized Zone to receive a briefing and meet with personnel.
For Merkley, the trip follows a series of town halls during which Oregonians across the state expressed fear about the threat of North Korea and the potential for unintended escalation without a deliberate and thoughtful strategy to protect the United States and its allies.
In his position on the Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on East Asia, the Senator has participated in hearings about North Korea from regional experts as the issue developed. Merkley and the congressional delegation during the trip will continue working on a diplomatic solution to ease tensions.
Merkley in December was tapped to serve on the prestigious Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which plays a critical role in the development of the United States’ foreign policy and has jurisdiction over diplomatic nominations, including the Secretary of State.