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Lawmakers Demand 'Complete, Verifiable, Irreversible Denuclearization' for Any Sanctions Relief

President Trump walks with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un

WASHINGTON -- A GOP senator behind crushing sanctions efforts on North Korea said he's happy that the "failed policy of strategic patience" is gone yet cautioned that there needs to be only one goal in engagement with dictator Kim Jong-un.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) said the summit "must be followed by multiple meetings to test North Korea’s promises of denuclearization, which they have made in the past and then repeatedly violated."

"Until such time as North Korea takes concrete steps to denuclearize, our policy should be to continue the maximum pressure campaign," he said. "The complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, as enshrined in U.S. law and multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions, must be the only goal."

A document signed by Kim and President Trump in Singapore provided no details, yet says Trump "committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

It also said the two parties "commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified" and would "commit to establish new U.S.–DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity," but Trump did not say what those new relations would look like.

Trump agreed to end U.S.-South Korea military exercises, which he and North Korea both called provocative.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) noted today that Kim "has gained much from step one, including an apparent promise from the president regarding important U.S.-South Korea defensive military drills."

"I look forward to a detailed briefing from the administration on the talks and any specific commitments North Korea has made toward denuclearization. Congress has an important oversight role in this process," Royce said. "Throughout, we must press Beijing and others to continue complying fully with all sanctions against the North Korean regime. Kim Jong Un should not receive a dime of relief until he fully and verifiably denuclearizes.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) echoed the belief that "as negotiations now advance, there is only one acceptable final outcome: complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization."

"We must always be clear that we are dealing with a brutal regime with a long history of deceit," Ryan said. "Only time will tell if North Korea is serious this time, and in the meantime we must continue to apply maximum economic pressure. The road ahead is a long one, but today there is hope that the president has put us on a path to lasting peace in the Korean peninsula."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called the summit a "historic first step in an important negotiation" on the Senate floor today.