Washington, D.C. — The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation today praised Republican Senators for urging direct diplomacy with North Korea, while criticizing remarks made last week by prominent former defense officials that encouraged a preemptive strike on a North Korean long-range missile before it could be launched.
The recommendations by Former Defense Secretary William Perry and Ashton Carter, both of whom served in the Clinton administration, were vigorously disputed by several prominent lawmakers including Senators Richard Lugar (R-Indiana) and Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) of the Foreign Relations Committee.
Both politicians strongly urged diplomacy instead of preemptive military action. "We need to talk directly to North Korea," said Hagel. "The sooner we do that, the sooner we're going to get this resolved."
"It would be advisable to bring about a much greater intensification of diplomacy, and this may involve direct talks between the United States and North Korea," said Lugar.
John Isaacs, Executive Director of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, strongly supported the two Senators' comment. "A preemptive strike would solve nothing. Suggestions like this are inappropriate and simply irresponsible."
"A military incursion would only inflame the crisis with North Korea and bring about retaliation against American soldiers in South Korea and the South Korean population," continued Isaacs.
"The only reasonable thing to do is negotiate. Not only is it a peaceful option, but it is our most promising option in getting North Korea to stand down," Isaacs concluded.
While North Korean officials continue to ask for direct negotiations with the United States, Washington has maintained that it will only discuss issues within the framework of the six-nation talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear program.
The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is a leading advocate for prudent measures to prevent the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.