WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, today announced that he will lead a bipartisan congressional delegation (CODEL) to Japan next week amid North Korea’s escalating provocations, including conducting multiple tests related to nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in recent weeks:
“Having served as U.S. Ambassador to Japan during the implementation of the Trump Administration’s maximum pressure strategy against North Korea, I know firsthand how the regime in Pyongyang—with its growing nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities—poses a real and significant danger to the United States and the entire world. As I prepare to lead a CODEL to Japan to meet with business and government leaders, I strongly condemn North Korea’s recent escalating provocations and call on the United States and our allies to deal with the Kim regime from a position of strength—a point I intend to convey during meetings next week.
“First, the United States must make clear that we will take necessary measures to defend the American homeland. Second, we must make the Kim regime understand that we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our allies in Japan, South Korea, and the wider Indo-Pacific region in the face of North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat. Third, we must renew work with other nations to expand the maximum pressure campaign against North Korea, including calling for additional emergency UN Security Council meetings to advance new sets of sanctions. Fourth, the Executive Branch must consult closely with Congress to enact any new authorities needed to strengthen America’s strategy of maximum pressure and steadfast diplomacy. Fifth, to ensure that North Korea human rights issues—including the abduction of Japanese nationals by the North Korean regime—remain a priority, I strongly urge Secretary of State Blinken to follow through on the commitment to appoint a Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights as required by U.S. law. Above all, President Biden should continue the Trump Administration’s objective of seeking the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea.”
Next week, Hagerty will lead a bipartisan CODEL to meet with government and business leaders in Japan to further strengthen the strong alliance between the U.S. and Japan, as well as to hear directly from these leaders about the ongoing challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, including North Korea’s escalating provocations and Communist China’s continued threats toward Taiwan.