Senator Cory Gardner wants to increase sanctions against North Korea. Sign this letter to push back.
Rep. Gerald Connolly
2238 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515

May 14, 2020

Dear Congressman Connolly,

We, the undersigned, represent a cross section of your constituents, including [NGOs, peace groups, community and business leaders, academics, and the Korean American community]. We write to express our disappointment in your May 11 op-ed in The Hill, “Our North Korea Quandary: There’s Instability in Our Future,” which raises alarming North Korean regime collapse scenarios but fails to offer a diplomatic path forward.

Like you, we have been deeply disturbed by the rapid spread of misinformation on North Korea. As you rightly point out, the false speculation over Kim Jong Un’s death highlights serious shortcomings in our understanding of a country that, in the event of instability, would pose profound nuclear security risks to the region and beyond.

However, we disagree with your assessment of the most effective way to turn the tide. We know that this troubling information gap is a direct consequence of the unresolved 70-year-long Korean War and the absence of formal US-North Korea relations. We also believe that the Trump administration’s botched diplomatic efforts stem from its insistence on maximalist demands, rather than “a misguided love affair.” An incremental, reciprocal, verifiable deal with North Korea that puts peace on the table is the only path forward.

Additionally, while we agree that there must be closer coordination with regional stakeholders China, South Korea, and Japan, we also know that contingency planning is not enough. In fact, experts have wrongly anticipated the collapse of North Korea for several decades. Instead of holding out for the worst case scenarios, we need leaders committed to charting a more secure and sustainable diplomatic path forward.

As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Korea, your leadership on this issue is critical. We urge you to use your platform to advance diplomacy and engagement with North Korea. Only then can we avoid the nuclear and humanitarian crises that you warn of.


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