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Statement by Nikki Haley on the Russia-North Korea Meeting

September 05, 2023

Haley criticizes Biden and Trump approaches to North Korea

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Following news that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is scheduled to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin and possibly send weapons to Russia in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, presidential candidate Nikki Haley denounced Joe Biden's weakness and Donald Trump's friendly overtures toward Kim. 

"The Kim-Putin partnership is another sign that the dictators of the world are united," Haley said. "The tyrants who lead China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea hate America and our values. We must take their threats seriously. Neither Joe Biden's weakness nor Donald Trump's friendliness to Kim have changed North Korea's direction for the better. These dictators only understand strength."

In 2017, as part of the Trump Administration and with the full support of President Trump, Ambassador Nikki Haley led the successful effort in the United Nations Security Council to pass the toughest sanctions against North Korea in a generation. The sanctions cut North Korean exports of gasoline, diesel, and other refined oil products by 89%, banned exports of industrial equipment and metals to North Korea, and required countries to stop the illegal smuggling of North Korean commodities by sea. Haley's work was widely praised:

  • Wall Street Journal: "Ms. Haley's most notable accomplishment in diplomacy was convincing Russia and China to endorse Security Council resolutions imposing tough economic sanctions on North Korea and an arms embargo on South Sudan. Many experts contend that sanctions played a significant role in convincing Pyongyang to negotiate dismantling its nuclear and ballistic-missile programs." (The Wall Street Journal, 10/11/18)

  • BBC News: "Nikki Haley: aggressive envoy who shook up the United Nations… She was also instrumental in pressuring China to support a tough sanctions regime against North Korea. Her personal diplomacy in closed-door meetings, when she demanded immediate answers from Beijing's more cautious and sometimes slow-moving diplomats, was unexpectedly successful." (BBC News, 10/10/18)

  • Christian Science Monitor: "Tillerson's absence from the public stage has opened the way for Ambassador Haley, a polished politician and former governor of South Carolina, to emerge as the administration's strong voice on issues like North Korea. Some say it's simply a neat division of labor between Tillerson and Haley given each one's talents, but others say the US is not well-served by a secretary of State who does not have a strong global presence." (Christian Science Monitor, 9/14/17)

Donald Trump's "love" affair with Kim Jong Un:

In June 2018, Donald Trump changed directions. He met with Kim Jong Un in Singapore. Two more meetings followed in Hanoi in February 2019 and in Panmunjom, South Korea in June. These meetings offered Kim legitimacy in the eyes of the world without achieving major concessions. Trump lavished praise on North Korea following the Singapore meeting, saying Kim has been "really very open and terrific, frankly."

The praise continued even as Kim doubled down on his country's nuclear development. Trump boasted of his "good chemistry" with Kim and described his back-and-forth communication with Kim as "love letters." In June 2019, Trump became the first U.S. president to step foot inside North Korea, calling it an "honor." He said, "A lot of really great things are happening, tremendous things. We met and we liked each other from Day One, and that was very important."

Trump's praise of Kim Jung Un continued as recently as this spring, with Trump congratulating Kim on North Korea's entrance into the World Health Organization. Haley denounced Kim, saying: "Kim Jong Un is a thug and a tyrant, and he has tested ballistic missiles against our allies. He's threatened us. There's nothing to congratulate him about. I mean, he's been terrible to his people. He's been terrible to America, and we need to stop being nice to countries that hate America."

Nikki Haley, Statement by Nikki Haley on the Russia-North Korea Meeting Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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