During interviews with Fox News and CNN this morning, Senator Portman discussed the need to hold North Korea accountable for its promises on denuclearization and also discussed China’s unfair trade practices and the need to create a level playing field for American businesses and products. 

Excerpts of his interviews can be found below and videos of the interview can be found here and here.

 

ON FOX, PORTMAN DISCUSSES HOLDING NORTH KOREA ACCOUNTABLE FOR ITS PROMISES MADE AT SUMMIT:

“[North Korea] made certain commitments at the summit. So let’s see what they do. Let’s make sure, again, that all this is verifiable. I frankly don’t think we can trust them given the history, which has been to enter into negotiations with the Bush administration, the Obama administration, the Clinton administration, this is not new—to stall any movement toward reducing or eliminating their nuclear arsenal and their means to deliver it. They have used negotiations in the past as a way to get some economic help and basically stall what the international community is calling for them to do. We can’t allow that to happen.”

I think there is a bipartisan consensus here that it is a good idea to actually get rid of their nuclear weapons program. It’s a huge national security threat to our country and the world. However, I have seen Democrats say things they wouldn’t have said if it was not President Trump going over. We need to be careful. I’m skeptical and I believe it needs to be verified and we need a maximum pressure campaign on the sidelines ready to go right back into effect, including exercises with South Korea regarding North Korea. But it is a good thing we are talking directly. It’s a good thing that there is the possibility now for them to dismantle the nuclear weapons program. We need to keep that in mind on a nonpartisan basis—be sure we’re focused on doing what is best for the security and the safety of the American people.” 

ON CNN, PORTMAN DISCUSSES NORTH KOREA & CHINA’S UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES:

“I raised the issue of Otto Warmbier and I actually met with his parents at the airport in Cincinnati a year ago today when he came home in this horrible condition. You need to be skeptical but it’s a step in the right direction. I think it is a very positive development that North Korea is saying these things. Now let’s make sure that they are verifiable and honor these commitments that they’ve made.

“I think Bob Corker raises a good point with regard to the fact that the tariffs being imposed because of the use of the 232, which is for national security, aren’t necessarily being used properly. In other words, I do think there is a national security issue with regard to the steel and aluminum industry. I think China, in fact, is the problem. They had 15 percent of world production about 18 years ago and now they have 50 percent. They don’t need it, they’re trying to dominate it, I’m convinced of that, and they do sell their product under cost and subsidize and we don’t want to drive out the steel jobs. We’ve lost 1,500 jobs in the state of Ohio in the last few years alone. Having said that, you need to use the national security part of this in a selective way where there is a security risk, and in some areas it’s steel, like electrical steel,  and we have a real problem. We have one manufacturer left, they say they’re going out of businesses and we need it for our grid. We’ve had a 100 percent increase in imports. That’s the way a way you use it, but to use it in a broad-based way, as we have for instance with regard to Canada and Mexico and the EU, is a mistake, and I think it actually risks the World Trade Organization finally ruling on this issue that would take away that authority. There is a good point to be raised here substantively on trade. It’s complicated and the reality is that this a very specialized tool that ought to be used in a very targeted way.” 

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