WASHINGTON (KTUU) - The United States and the world were surprised by a joint signing held in Singapore between two leaders who were, at one point in time, at each others throats with threats and barbed words. Following the meeting, both Alaskan senators had something to say about it.
In an interview conducted Tuesday, senior Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski commented following the signing of an undisclosed document by US President Donald Trump, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Murkowski spoke candidly on several issues key to the signing and what it can mean realistically for denuclearization and for the world at large. She called the Kim leadership "an awful regime" and expressed concerns over trusting him.
Regarding Trump's claim that Kim loves his people, Murkowski argued, "I don't think that a man who would barbarically execute people, who would allow children to die of starvation, of famine so that he can, he can build up a military that garners the attention of the world is somebody who quote, 'loves his people.'"
In a prepared statement issued by Alaska's junior senator Dan Sullivan, he said Trump should be commended both for "ultimately" bringing Kim to the table, and for saying sanctions will remain in effect. However, he couched this by saying it's important to be careful.
"While I appreciate the President’s comments about the ‘arduous process’ his administration is undertaking with the North Korean regime," Sullivan stated, "We must proceed with caution as it relates to the suspension of military exercises on the Korean Peninsula."
The entire interview with Murkowski, conducted by reporter Peter Zampa, can be read in full below:
Peter: What do you think of the President trying to get Kim Jung Un to commit to denuclearization (note: question was cut off at the top)
Murkowski: I think we are all looking at the, the framework that was laid out by President Trump and Kim Jung Un. There's still much detail that is yet to be filled in. I absolutely support the goal of what was outlined, which is complete denuclearization of North Korea. I think we should all be working to facilitate that goal, but I do think that it will be a process going forward. I don't think that the meeting that was held in Singapore was the end all be all. I think that it will be an opportunity to build on a very historic meeting, and my hope is that it will yield positive benefits. And again, the ultimate goal of denuclearization of North Korea. That remains to be seen, but if you have committed willingness on both sides, really by all the world's partners here, perhaps we can achieve this peace that has alluded us for so many decades.
Peter: There's a lot of talk of good faith when it comes to this leader who has reneged, or a regime that has reneged...
Murkowski: A regime that has reneged... a regime that has been an awful regime, if I just may say...
Peter: ...for decades, and we don't talk about human rights. We assume this is being conducted in good faith. What are we supposed to think coming out of this meeting that has no real assurances?
Murkowski: Trust but verify, and I don't know that I trust right now, but what I will say, what I will say is that... this meeting, face to face, gives us the opportunity for working towards a goal which we have been talking about, again, for decades. This does not, and should not in any way, condone the atrocities that we have seen from North Korea regarding how they have treated their people. A regime that, in so many ways has just been, been brutal. Not just with this leader, but with his father, his predecessors.
Peter: President Trump said he loves his people...
Murkowski: Well, the President said what he said. I don't think that a man who would barbarically execute people, who would allow children to die of starvation, of famine so that he can, he can build up a military that garners the attention of the world is somebody who quote, "loves his people." I think he loves his power. I think we need to be very watchful. I think we need to be very cautious. But again, what you had in Singapore with the meeting of these two men was of significant consequence and perhaps working to break down some of what has, has, has propped this regime up for many years.