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FIRST ON FOX: GOP lawmakers demanded Tuesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agree to denuclearize before any peace agreement is reached by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and South Korea and the U.S. removes its troops from the peninsula.
In a letter to White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Tuesday, 35 GOP House lawmakers led by Rep. Young Kim, R-Calif., argued a declaration to formally end the 70-year war could undermine regional security if a nuclear agreement is not also reached.
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“We are gravely concerned that this declaration, instead of promoting peace, would seriously undermine and destabilize the security of the Korean peninsula,” the letter obtained by Fox News read. “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.”
The letter comes after reports first surfaced late last month that Washington and Seoul were working to end the decades-long conflict.
The White House would not comment on whether it has been actively working to finalize an end of war declaration or if the agreement would include language on denuclearization.
But a spokesman told Fox News the White House is “prepared to engage in diplomacy with DPRK.”
“The United States remains committed to achieving lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and diplomacy,” the spokesman said.
Republicans argued in the Tuesday letter that diplomatic relations with Pyongyang are too precarious to trust a nuclear agreement would be followed even if the DPRK agreed to one.
“There is no historical precedent to support the theory that the Kim regime would abide by the terms of a peace agreement,” the lawmakers said. “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.”
“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.”
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Kim, a California Republican, grew up in South Korea in the aftermath of the Korean War and argued the Biden administration’s attempt to engage in diplomatic relations with the DPRK were futile.
“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,” the congresswoman told Fox News. Adding that an end of war declaration could “cede the negotiating leverage of the United States, South Korea and our allies to the Kim regime.”
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Lawmakers fear that fromaly concluding the war would give North Korea bargaining power to call for the removal of all U.S. troops from the region – dismantling a deterrence force for not only the DPRK, but China and Russia.
“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,” lawmakers concluded. “It should not be offered as an attempt to initiate talks with an uncertain endgame and strategy.”