HONOLULU, HAWAII – Congressman Charles K. Djou (HI-01) issued the following statement today, expressing relief that North Korea had released the South Korean fishing vessel, the Daesung 55, and its crew yesterday at the East Sea military demarcation line. Congressman Djou introduced a resolution at the time of its seizure, condemning North Korea’s provocations and calling for the release of the Daesung 55 and its crew. Congressman Djou’s statement also praises South Korea for joining the United States in trade sanctions against Iran and urges China to do the same:

I am relieved that this unfortunate incident with North Korea and the Daesung 55 has come to a positive close. As I stated a month ago, North Korea should rejoin the international community at the negotiating table. With this incident behind us, let us recommit ourselves to pursuing what is in the best interests of the United States and South Korea and the entire Pacific region.

I also want to applaud South Korea for their recent decision to join the United States in trade sanctions against Iran. This sends an important message to Iran and the rest of the world that Iran’s continued aggression will not be tolerated.

Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism and has aided in the killing of Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran’s government is led by a Holocaust-denying president. And Iran continues to defy the United Nations and most of the international community by developing its nuclear weapons program. A nuclear-armed Iran is a threat to the United States, and to the world community at large.

South Korea’s action in joining a growing number of nations who are concerned with Iran’s pursuit of nuclear arms is welcome news. I urge China to join us in declaring that Iran’s consistent refusal to meet its international obligations is not in the best interest of anyone.

I hope that a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the growing problem in Iran can be found. However, that is Iran’s choice to make. Until then, the United States, South Korea and our allies will stand in unified opposition to Iran’s illicit and stability-threatening activities.

BACKGROUND: On August 1, 2010, the South Korean squidding vessel Daesung 55 began its squidding operations in the East Sea. On August 8, it was seized by a North Korean naval vessel. On  August 10, Congressman Djou introduced a resolution condemning North Korea’s provocative actions and called for the immediate release of the Daesung and its crew. Less than a month later, North Korea has acquiesced. Congressman Djou’s resolution was used by the South Korean government to pressure North Korea—through China—to swiftly resolve this situation.

September 8, 2010, South Korea announced that it would “add to new, unilateral sanctions imposed by the U.S., Europe and others to pressure Iran to return to negotiations on its nuclear program.” Congressman Djou has been a vocal critic of Iran, and voted for the Iran sanctions passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama.

Submitted by Congressmember Djou’s staff

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