After visiting the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, urged President Donald Trump not to be a “cowboy” and to consult with Congress in responding to North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons.
Frankel was part of a bipartisan congressional delegation that visited Japan and South Korea last week for briefings and discussions sponsored by the Aspen Institute.
Frankel said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “seems unstable” and would attack U.S. allies and troops in South Korea, and possibly Japan, if the U.S. used military action to try to take out his nuclear weapons.
“There’s a unanimous, unanimous consensus, by every person we heard from, that any preemptive strike by the United States would result in a counter attack by North Korea, a devastating military attack on Seoul,” Frankel said in an interview with The Palm Beach Post.
“This is not the time for the president to be a cowboy. Because of the irrationality of the North Korean leader, everyone, let’s ratchet down the temperature. That doesn’t mean you ignore the problem. But I would give this leader much less attention publicly. That is what he wants,’” Frankel said.
Frankel said Trump recently has been “more subdued, which is good.”
Frankel also said Vice President Mike Pence‘s recent visit was “a good thing,” though she would have preferred he not wear a leather military jacket while touring the DMZ.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to threaten or insinuate something that you would not do…I’m glad he was there but I think maybe he could have taken a more diplomatic approach,” Frankel said.
In a statement released by her congressional office, Frankel said the U.S. “in consultation with Japan and South Korea, must explore all reasonable economic, diplomatic and defensive actions such as cyber that would prevent North Korea from developing such a capability. This includes further engagement with and economic pressure on China, which North Korea depends upon for 90 percent of its trade. A military strike is an untenable option that would most likely result in a devastating conventional military attack by North Korea on Seoul, South Korea, a megacity with a population of over 25 million including tens of thousands of U.S. military personnel.”