WASHINGTON—A bipartisan group of lawmakers today introduced legislation to require the U.S. government to make an assessment of North Korea’s existing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capabilities—its “baseline”—in advance of the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore. The North Korea Nuclear Baseline Act would also mandate regular reporting to Congress on North Korea’s progress toward dismantling its nuclear, ballistic missile, and chemical and biological weapons stockpiles, production, and programs.
The bill was introduced by Representative Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security; Reps. Ted Yoho (R-FL) and Brad Sherman (D-CA), Chair and Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific; Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA); and Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK).
“Successful negotiation with North Korea requires understanding what the country’s capabilities are now, and implementation of any potential deal requires tough verification that the Kim Regime is actually dismantling its weapons. This bill will establish that baseline and help ensure that we hold Pyongyang to its obligations in any future agreement,” said Rep. Engel.
“As President Trump advances denuclearization negotiations with North Korea, Congress must provide aggressive oversight to ensure North Korea is truly upholding their commitments. To that end, this bill would require the Administration to regularly update Congress on North Korean nuclear, ballistic missile, and chemical capabilities, and verify that North Korea is making honest progress towards its assurances,” said Rep. McCaul.
“This bill is an important starting point for negotiations with the Kim regime and comes at a critical moment in history. It is vital that we have mechanisms in place to measure the denuclearization of Kim’s arsenal. The North Korea Nuclear Baseline Act will hopefully help usher in a verifiable peaceful resolution to the Korean peninsula,” said Rep. Yoho.
“We need this comprehensive analysis to ensure that we have the right policies in place to counter North Korea in the event we cannot get a disarmament process underway and, in the event we do, to aid in the verification that will be necessary to implement it,” said Rep. Sherman.
“Striking an agreement with North Korea would be step one in a long process towards denuclearization. After that, this process will require vigorous enforcement to ensure we don’t fall prey to the same mistakes of the past. This bill will ensure Congress has the necessary information to track the agreement’s implementation and provide robust oversight of the Administration’s decisions,” said Rep. Lieu.
The North Korea Nuclear Baseline Act would require the President to submit to relevant Congressional committees a report detailing the status of North Korea’s nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons; research, development, and production facilities for weapons of mass destruction; ballistic missiles and missile production facilities; and gaps in available intelligence.
The bill also requires regular updates that, in the event a deal is reached, would include verification of North Korea’s denuclearization activities.
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