From "fire and fury", to "locked and loaded", and most recently "All options are on the table", the President has had some tough and controversial words for Kim Jong-Un and North Korea after several Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) tests and now a hydrogen bomb test. Some critics worry that these words have worsened the rising tensions with North Korea; other critics simply worry that Twitter may not be the best outlet to issue these statements. Those who defend him feel that Trump’s words should reflect North Korea’s actions.
While members of Congress have debated the President’s statements, sanctions on North Korea have been strongly supported in both the Capitol and the White House in 2017. Following nuclear tests, the death of Otto Warmbier, and sanctions on North Korea, we’ve seen that tensions between the US and North Korea have only continued to snowball.
This snowball has been rolling for far longer than 2017, however--while Americans threw literal snowballs celebrating New Year’s Day, Kim Jong-un issued a statement about his nuclear plans--setting the tone for the rest of the year. Skip forward 6 months and several missile tests and we arrive at another holiday--the 4th of July. As Americans launched fireworks in their backyards, North Korea celebrated by testing its first ICBM.
To visualize the series of events that followed, we have compiled a timeline below outlining the rising tensions between the US and North Korea since the launch and the statements made and actions taken as a result.
Names you will see often are Sen. Gardner (R-CO), Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity, and Sen. Markey (D-MA), who is also a ranking member of that committee. While countless members of Congress have addressed the issue, we have simplified the list to highlight party leaders and members of relevant committees. Don’t see your senator or representative? Use our keyword search tool here to explore their statements on the issue.
— July 4-6: North Korea launches its first ICBM that may be able to reach the US.
Sen. Gardner (R-CO): Gardner Calls for a Global Economic Embargo Against North Korea
"Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter. So much for China working with us - but we had to give it a try!" — @realDonaldTrump July 5, 2017
Rep. Pelosi (D-CA): Pelosi Statement on North Korean ICBM Test
— July 8: President Trump meets with Prime Minister Abe of Japan and President Xi of China.
"Leaving Hamburg for Washington, D.C. and the WH. Just left China's President Xi where we had an excellent meeting on trade & North Korea." — @realDonaldTrump July 8, 2017
— July 11-22: US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) executes a successful intercept test. House and Senate discuss strengthening efforts against Kim Jong-un and North Korea. House passes the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (see the vote breakdown here).
Sens. Menendez (D-NJ), Gardner (R-CO), & Markey (D-MA): Menendez, Gardner, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Impose Economic Embargo on North Korea and Its Enablers
Sens. Van Hollen (D-MD) & Toomey (R-PA): Van Hollen, Toomey Announce BRINK Act on New North Korea Sanctions
Rep. Smith (D-WA): Smith Statement on Passage of the FY2018 NDAA in the House
Rep. Byrne (R-AL): Rebuilding, Reforming, and Repairing Our Military
— July 19-24: Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee discusses further sanctions on North Korea. The Senate & House committees agree on Iran, Russia and North Korea sanctions bill.
Rep. Barr (R-KY): Sanctioning North Korea
Rep. Pelosi (D-CA): Pelosi Statement on House Action on Russia Sanctions Bill
Reps. McCarthy (R-CA) & Royce (R-CA): Chairman Royce and Leader McCarthy Announce New Iran, Russia, and North Korea Sanctions
Rep. Engel (D-NY): Engel Statement on Bipartisan Sanctions Bill
Sens Van Hollen (D-MD) & Toomey (R-PA): Van Hollen, Toomey Encourage Adoption of BRINK Act
— July 25: "North Korea promises nuclear strike on US if regime is threatened." Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act passes in the House of Representatives (see vote breakdown here)
Rep. Thornberry (R-TX): Thornberry on North Korea Briefing
Rep. Ryan (R-WI): Statement on Passage of Iran, Russia, North Korea Sanctions
Rep. Bera (D-CA): Rep. Ami Bera's Statement on Russia-Iran-North Korea Sanctions Bill
Rep. Engel (D-NY): Engel Remarks on Russia, Iran, and north Korea Sanctions
Rep. Meeks (D-NY): Rep. Meeks Statement on Passage of Russia-Iran-North Korea Sanctions Bill
Sen. Warner (D-VA): Statement on House passage of Russia sanctions
Sen. Corker (R-TN): Corker Announces Path Forward on Sanctions Legislation
— July 27, 2017: The US Senate passes the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (see vote breakdown here). House Foreign Affairs Committee passes several measures.
Sen. Sanders (I-VT): Sanders Statement on New Iran, North Korea, Russia Sanctions
Sen. Corker (R-TN): Corker Applauds Passage Of Iran, Russia, North Korea Sanctions
Sen. Cardin (D-MD): Cardin Statement on Major Sanctions Legislation Sent to President Trump
Rep. Royce (R-CA): Chairman Royce on Senate Passage of Iran, Russia, and North Korea Sanctions
Rep. Thornberry (R-TX): Thornberry Talks Iran Space Launch & Sanctions Efforts W/ Fox
Rep. Schiff (D-CA): Schiff-Wilson Bill Restricting Tourist Travel to North Korea Passes Committee
Rep. Royce (R-CA): House Foreign Affairs Committee Passes Various Measures
Rep. Engel (D-NY): Hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee - Opening Statement of Rep. Engel, Markup of H. Res. 128, H. Res. 259, H. Res. 311, H. Res. 357, H. Res. 359, H. Res. 449, H.R. 1918, H.R. 2061, and H.R. 2408
— July 28: North Korea tests another ICBM that may be able to reach the US.
President Trump: Statement from the President on North Korea's Second ICBM Launch
Rep. Ryan (R-WI): Statement on North Korea Missile Test
Rep. Thornberry (R-TX): Thornberry on North Korea Missile Launch
Sen. Cardin (D-MD): Cardin Statement on North Korea's Latest Missile Launch
Rep. Turner (R-OH): Turner Calls on POTUS to Sign Sanctions Bill Against N.Korea After ICBM Test
Sen. Fischer (R-NE): Fischer Statement on Today's North Korea Missile Test-Launch
Sen. Corker (R-TN): Corker Statement on North Korea Ballistic Missile Launch
Rep. Smith (R-MO): A Secure America
“I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet...they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!” — @realDonaldTrump July 29, 2017
Sen. Cruz (R-TX): How to Degrade the Growing Power of North Korea
— August 2: Trump signs the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.
President Trump: Statement by President Donald J. Trump on the Signing of H.R. 3364
Statements on Trump’s signing of H.R. 3354
Rep. Ryan (R-WI): Statement on Iran, Russia, North Korea Sanctions
Rep. Engel (D-NY): Engel Statement on President's Signing Sanctions Legislation
— August 5: The UN Security Council unanimously passes sanctions on North Korea.
Rep. Kinzinger (R-IL): Congressman Kinzinger on North Korea Sanctions
Rep. Zeldin (R-NY): Rep. Zeldin Statement Re: New UN Sanctions on North Korea
“United Nations Resolution is the single largest economic sanctions package ever on North Korea. Over one billion dollars in cost to N.K.” — @realDonaldTrump August 5, 2017
“Just completed call with President Moon of South Korea. Very happy and impressed with 15-0 United Nations vote on North Korea sanctions.” — @realDonaldTrump August 6, 2017
— August 8-10: Following a briefing on the Opioid Crisis, President Trump states that if threatened by North Korea, “they will be met with fire and fury.” North Korea considers targeting the US territory of Guam.
President Trump: Remarks by President Trump Before a Briefing on the Opioid Crisis
64 members of Congress: Letter to the Hon. Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State - Statements Made by Trump on North Korea
Rep. Engel (D-NY): Engel Statement on Trump's Threats to North Korea
Rep. Crowley (D-NY): Chairman Crowley Statement on North Korea
Sen. Warner (D-VA): Statement of Senator Mark R. Warner on North Korea
Rep. Hoyer (D-MD): Hoyer Statement on President Trump's Reckless Rhetoric on North Korea
Sen. Cardin (D-MD): Cardin Statement on North Korea
Rep. Meeks (D-NY): Rep. Meeks Statement on N. Korea Devising Plan to Launch Missiles at Guam
Sen. Leahy (D-VT): Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Developments Concerning North Korea
Rep. Donovan (R-NY): Statement from Congressman Dan Donovan on North Korea
Rep. Schiff (D-CA): Intel Committee Ranking Member Schiff Statement on North Korea
“After many years of failure, countries are coming together to finally address the dangers posed by North Korea. We must be tough & decisive!” — @realDonaldTrump August 8, 2017
Sen. Van Hollen (D-MD): Van Hollen: Sanctions, Diplomacy, Leadership Key to Lessening North Korea Threat
“Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!” — @realDonaldTrump August 11, 2017
— August 11-17: Trump answers questions about North Korea following a discussion on Workforce/Apprenticeship. North Korea states that they will hold off on Guam strike.
Sen. Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Van Hollen (D-MD), Rep. Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Wagner (R-MO), & Sen. Markey (D-MA): As Tensions Mount from Threat of North Korea, Senator Markey to Lead Congressional Delegation to Korea, Japan and China
“Kim Jong Un of North Korea made a very wise and well reasoned decision. The alternative would have been both catastrophic and unacceptable!” — @realDonaldTrump August 16, 2017
Rep. Lamborn (R-CO): North Korea's actions show more resources need to be put into missile defense
— August 21-22: Tensions continue to rise. US Treasury Department announces sanctions on Russians and Chinese who support North Korea.
Rep. Donovan (R-NY): Statement from Congressman Dan Donovan on Today's Sanctions Announcement
— August 29-30: North Korea fires another missile over Japan.
President Trump: Statement by President Donald J. Trump on North Korea
Rep. Hoyer (D-MD): Hoyer Statement on North Korea's Recent Ballistic Missile Test
Sens. Van Hollen (D-MD) & Toomey (R-PA) : Van Hollen and Toomey Statement on Urgent Need to Strengthen Sanctions on North Korea and Crack Down on Sanction Evaders
The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!" — @realDonaldTrump August 30, 2017
— September 3: North Korea tests a Hydrogen bomb.
Sen. Gardner (R-CO): Gardner Statement on North Korea Nuclear Test
"North Korea has conducted a major Nuclear Test. Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States.......North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success." — @realDonaldTrump September 3, 2017
This is James. He works tirelessly every day collecting hundreds of public statements by officials. From daily tweets from the President, to op-eds published by your representatives, James helps make sure that we can track what politicians are saying so you can hold them to their words. Make a tax deductible contribution so that our researchers can keep bringing you the facts!