House Intel members turn focus to North Korea following latest missile tests

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Lawmakers in Washington are focused on North Korea following the country’s latest missile tests. Members of the House Intelligence Committee recently traveled to South Korea to examine the atmosphere firsthand. Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) says now is not the time to ignore Pyongyang.

Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) says getting China on board is crucial in containing the threat from North Korea.

“Kim Jong Un is going to stop at nothing to get an intercontinental ballistic missile,” said Hurd.

The latest test has Hurd concerned that soon, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will have the ability to reach the U.S. mainland with a nuclear weapon.

“He’s already shown a willingness to uses theses dangerous weapons,” said Hurd. “He’s already killed thousands of people. And he has a pursuit for nuclear weapons in order to do what most dictators do, and that’s to hold on to power.”

Hurd says his recent House Intel Committee trip to South Korea made it clear how valuable relationships are with the South Koreans and Japan. He says, to keep Pyongyang in check, the U.S. needs those two countries on the same page, and some help from China.

“The Chinese have allowed North Korea to operate to a certain extent,” said Hurd. “They’re realizing the folly in those ways. And this is where we can achieve true security cooperation with China.”

Some are worried about the relationship the new administration will have with China. President Donald Trump appears at odds with Beijing particularly on trade. Eunjung Lim, a Korea studies professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, says a U.S.-China feud only helps North Korea.

“Any gap between the key players or any different thoughts among international society members, that’s exactly what Pyongyang has been looking for,” said Lim.

Lim says Washington and Beijing need to work together, because dialogue with North Korea isn’t an option right now.

“We really have to worry about...again in some ways they have already crossed the red line in terms of the nuclear development,” said Lim.

Lim says sanctions against North Korea are working. But, both she and Hurd agree, they're not stopping Kim Jong Un's nuclear program.

According to a senior administration official, President Donald Trump will host Chinese President Xi Jinping next month at Mar-a-Lago for a summit.