Gardner Says Trump ‘Made The Right Decision’ Canceling North Korea Summit

· May 24, 2018, 4:12 pm
Photo: Shutdown Budget Battle | Cory Gardner - APJacquelyn Martin/AP
Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., left, speaks to the media after attending a meeting with a bipartisan group of senators, Monday Jan. 22, 2018, on day three of the government shutdown on Capitol Hill in Washington.

President Donald Trump made waves Thursday morning when he canceled the planned June summit with North Korea — and Sen. Cory Gardner is voicing his support.

Colorado's Republican Senator chairs the Senate subcommittee on East Asia and has previously pushed for a full economic embargo of North Korea and any companies that do business with the country.

In a statement, Gardner said, the U.S. must "double down on our strategy of maximum pressure and engagement."

Anticipation for the nuclear talks increased following the release of three American prisoners and the demolition of a North Korean nuclear test site. But Gardner doesn't see the cancelation as a missed opportunity for peace because he believes the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wasn't on board for full denuclearization.

"I think the president was right to cancel and hope for another time, soon, where we can actually get back to that all-important goal of peace on the peninsula," Garnder said.

National Security Advisor John Bolton, who South Koreans blame in part for derailing the talks, met with Gardner Thursday. Bolton likened the North Korean situation to a 2003 nuclear deal with former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who died following a 2011 popular uprising in his country. It was a connection that North Korea bristled at. Gardner, again, believes the blame falls not on Bolton, but on North Korea's leader.

"This isn't about Libya, this isn't about blame, this is about Kim Jong Un doing what the Kim family has done far too many times, and that's make a promise, break a promise," Gardner said.

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If North Korea were to commit to denuclearization, Gardner said he would consider resuming talks. Just hours after canceling the meeting, Trump said it was "possible" the North Korea summit could still happen June 12 or later if Kim Jong Un took "constructive" steps.

Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet issued a statement that put the blame on North Korea for derailing the meeting, but also pushed for the president to develop a strategy in place of "emotional, outburst-driven 'diplomacy.'"

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