U.S. Rep. Tom Reed said Tuesday he was glad to see President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un “coming together to resolve this thing peacefully.”
Reed said he watched Monday’s historic meeting between Trump and Kim.
“The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is something we all want to see,” Reed told reporters during a conference call Tuesday.
Reed said it was “clear to me” what Trump had done to convince North Korea and China to take steps toward a peaceful resolution of the war of words Trump and Kim engaged in last year — both threatening a nuclear attack on the other country.
“If this is not deployed through peace and diplomacy, the military option will be deployed,” Reed said. “My hope is (Kim) is committed to the path of peace. He’d better” be, he added, saying the alternative was “dire. The only option at that point is military.”
Reed said he did not see a problem with ending joint military operations — or war games — with the South Korean armed forces as a concession to North Korea.
“I am open to supporting what the president did there,” he said. “I’ve been to the DMZ. I’ve seen the capability of the war fighters. The more you train the better you will be” prepared to defend and repel any attack.
Reed said it sounded like a good trade for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. “Some of the negative media thought it was too much of a gift,” he noted.
“If the path to peace doesn’t work, we’re looking at a military situation,” Reed declared.
Reed’s office issued a statement later with Reed saying, “If Kim Jong-un throws away this opportunity, it will mean the military destruction of his country and his death."
The five Democratic candidates seeking to run against Reed in November were asked their reaction to the historic meeting between Trump and Kim in Singapore on Monday.
“We all hope that the summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-Un is a step toward a denuclearized North Korea and a step closer to peace across the world,” Ithaca businessman Ian Golden told the Olean Times Herald. “Only time will tell.”
Golden added, “We cannot, however, fracture relationships with our allies or ignore the terrible human rights violations of the North Korean dictator in the process. I give credit to the two men for meeting face to face, but this agreement seems like all talk and no substance.”
Tracy Mitrano of Penn Yan, a former university administrator who has a cyber security consulting firm in Yates County, said some credit for the summit should go to Barack Obama and his predecessors.
"If President Trump is successful in negotiating verifiable denuclearization with North Korea, it will be because the economic sanctions imposed by President Obama and his predecessors have ultimately worked,” Mitrano said in a statement.
“Kim Jong-un recognizes that opening his country to world trade is not only necessary for his country’s survival, but the only way he will remain in power,” Mitrano said. “It is as simple a formula as that.”
Eddie Sundquist, a Jamestown attorney and former teacher, replied, “It might be strange to hear from a Democrat, but I think it’s great that the United States is engaging in diplomacy with North Korea on the topic of denuclearization.”
Sundquist said, “The problem is that we are sending Donald Trump to do the negotiating. By his own admission, Trump went into the meeting unprepared. He emerged with no detailed, solid or even believable concessions from North Korea yet he gave away a serious concession in the form of joint exercises with South Korea. That’s not my idea of a deal. The United States can and must do better."
Dr. Linda Andrei, a retired Ithaca heart surgeon, said, “Diplomacy must always be America’s first option for resolving conflicts on the world stage. This summit between the United States and North Korea, though haphazardly accepted and planned for, is better than war. I remain cautiously optimistic about what this summit will achieve and hope the vague pledges of nuclear disarmament from North Korea come to fruition.”
Andrei added: “While the Trump administration lavishes praise on North Korea and condones decades of its human rights abuses, it continues to alienate our relationships with key allies like Canada, France, and Germany. If our allies can’t count on us, they will start making their own plans. That could prove far more destabilizing down the road and will hurt America’s credibility in future negotiations with the North Koreans.”
Max Della Pia, a retired Air Force colonel, congressional aide and lawyer from Owego, also weighed in on the Trump/Kim summit.
"For decades, the erratic and repressive North Korean regime has put millions of Americans at risk and created an existential threat for our close allies in South Korea and Japan,” Della Pia said.
Both “Republican and Democratic administrations have failed to achieve lasting stability in the region: with such exceptionally high stakes we should welcome any signs of progress. Moreover, as a strong proponent of diplomacy-driven foreign policy, I applaud any effort to engage with regimes around the world rather than pursuing military solutions to our problems.”
Della Pia added, “While we still do not have nearly enough information about the results of the summit to make a judgment, if the result is a strong agreement that protects U.S. interests at home and abroad, we as Democrats should be willing to support the policy no matter how vehemently we oppose the administration.”
(Contact reporter Rick Miller at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)