Hoeven: Administration Needs to Preserve and Strengthen the U.S. Nuclear Deterrent

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today said North Korea’s successful detonation of a miniaturized nuclear device capable of being mounted on a missile poses a threat to the United States and international peace and stability. At the same time Iran is pressing forward with its nuclear program and China is modernizing its nuclear arsenal. All of these developments mean we need to sustain and strengthen the U.S. nuclear deterrent, he said.

“North Korea’s nuclear test today poses a threat to the United States and our allies, and underscores the need for the United States to maintain its strong deterrent capabilities,” Hoeven said. “Yet now, even before implementing the reductions required under the New START Treaty of 2010, the Obama administration has signaled that it may be willing to reduce unilaterally the U.S. nuclear capability even further. In light of North Korea’s actions today, this is clearly not the time to diminish these critical strategic forces.”

Hoeven has opposed calls for the U.S. to unilaterally reduce its stockpile of nuclear weapons in light of current and emerging strategic threats around the world. The senator is a strong supporter of the U.S. strategic deterrence, including the sustainment of all three legs of the nuclear triad (land-based ballistic missiles, submarine launched ballistic missiles and nuclear-capable bombers).

In addition, Hoeven called for tighter sanctions on North Korea following its nuclear test.

“Rhetoric and UN resolutions have failed to change North Korea’s behavior. This latest nuclear test justifies a return to sanctions on North Korea that have proven successful in the past. The Treasury Department should identify and sanction banks that launder money for the Kim regime. Sanctions imposed in 2005 on a limited number of banks cost North Korea a substantial amount of money and motivated the regime to resume international negotiations. We should return to this approach. Only by cutting the regime’s financial lifelines can we expect to alter North Korea’s confrontational behavior,” said Hoeven.