Top House Democrat Blasts North Korea’s Missile Launch

Rep. Joseph Crowley. John Moore/Getty Images

Queens Congressman Joseph Crowley, the House Democratic caucus chairman, criticized North Korea for launching a ballistic missile over a northern Japanese island on Friday, saying that it is hurting efforts for peace and stability in the region.

On Friday morning, North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Hokkaido — the second missile fired over Japan since the one that occurred last month and the first since North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test. It is also the first launch since the United Nations Security Council issued a new set of sanctions against North Korea after it tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July. Those sanctions could cost North Korea $1 billion, according to the State Department.

“This launch is the latest in a series of actions that further isolates North Korea and jeopardizes peace and stability in the region,” Crowley said in a statement. “The sanctions imposed this week by the UN Security Council were a step in the right direction, but pressure must continue to be applied in tandem with diplomatic efforts.”

Crowley called on China and Russia to put more pressure on North Korea.

“China and Russia must exert more forceful leadership and demand that North Korea cease its threatening and destabilizing behavior toward America and our allies, including Japan and South Korea,” Crowley continued.

Before North Korea fired the missile, Trump said that he has a “very good relationship” with Chinese President Xi Jinping and guaranteed that Americans “will be very, very safe” because they are “working on different things,” according to CNN. And he also indicated via Twitter recently that he is allowing Japan and South Korea “to buy a substantially increased amount of highly sophisticated military equipment from the United States.”

Last month, Trump warned North Korea that if it continues to threaten the United States, it “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” accusing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un of being “very threatening.” In response, North Korea said that it was “carefully examining” a plan to strike Guam, a U.S. Pacific territory, with missiles. When asked what a tough response would look like, Trump implied that his assertion “wasn’t tough enough” and said “we’ll see.” 

Asian elected officials and community leaders, including Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim — the first and only South Korean elected to the state Senate — and Queens Congresswoman and Democratic National Committee Vice Chairwoman Grace Meng, however, have called on Trump to stop his “ad libbing” on Twitter and to concentrate on diplomatic channels and peaceful measures to settle the ongoing conflict with the North Korean government.

Top House Democrat Blasts North Korea’s Missile Launch