Gardner: It’s Time for the United States to Lead Through Action on North Korea

President Obama fails to address North Korea during State of the Union

Washington – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) today released the below statement on President Obama’s failure to acknowledge North Korea during his final State of the Union address:

“During his final State of the Union address, President Obama acknowledged that ‘our foreign policy must be focused on the threat from ISIL and al Qaeda, but it can’t stop there.’ I couldn’t agree with that statement more. That's why I was shocked that the President made no mention of North Korea’s recent nuclear test during his speech. He spoke about strength, leadership, and the power of our example, yet his policy of ‘strategic patience’ toward the forgotten maniac in Pyongyang has failed.

“I will continue to fight to change North Korea's behavior through legislation that imposes broad mandatory sanctions on this rogue regime that has no respect for international norms. It's time for the United States to make good on its rhetorical promises and lead through action. During his final year, I urge President Obama to work with Congress to set an example and send a message to the rest of the world that America will not tolerate North Korea's pattern of belligerence." 

As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, Gardner has advocated to address the North Korean threat through legislative action. In October, Gardner introduced the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act, legislation that sanctions individuals who contribute to North Korea’s nuclear program and proliferation activities, as well as officials involved in censoring the regime’s continued human rights abuses. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jim Risch (R-ID), David Perdue (R-GA), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Steve Daines (R-MT) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) are all cosponsors of the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act. 

Additionally, Gardner urged the Obama Administration to take action following reports of North Korea expanding its nuclear stockpile, and introduced a resolution urging new sanctions on North Korea in reaction to the regime’s long history of human rights abuses, military threats, and international law violations. On January 12, 2016, the House of Representatives passed legislation that imposes sanctions on North Korea, and the United States Senate is expected to act next week.


Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.