IAEA Board of Governors Meeting
December 2-3, 2010
Agenda Item 6(a)
Application of Safeguards in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)
Ambassador Glyn T. Davies
U.S. Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency
Once again, this Board meets against the backdrop of disturbing news regarding North Korea’s nuclear program. As noted by the Director General, North Korea has recently disclosed to visiting U.S. scientists ongoing activity at Yongbyon, including the existence of a uranium enrichment program. If true, these disclosures validate our long-standing concerns about the DPRK’s clandestine enrichment activities. These developments have serious implications for the international nonproliferation regime and are a clear manifestation of the risks posed by North Korea’s defiance of its international obligations and commitments. They further heighten our concerns about its nuclear program and the threat it poses to international peace and security.
The revelations North Korea made to Ambassador Jack Pritchard and to Dr. Siegfried Hecker on their recent unofficial trips have been widely reported in the press. Dr. Hecker has also made his account of the visit available publicly. But let me review the facts as the United States sees them:
• A little over two weeks ago, DPRK authorities told visiting American scientists that, at its Yongbyon nuclear complex, North Korea is constructing a new light water nuclear reactor and has built a uranium enrichment plant, containing approximately 2000 centrifuges, that is operating and that is producing low- enriched uranium. The DPRK officials stated that this construction had begun in April of 2009.
• As you’ll recall, April 2009 is around the same time that the DPRK expelled IAEA personnel and U.S. disablement teams who were monitoring the Yongbyon facilities.
• We believe North Korea has been pursuing enrichment for an extended period of time – long before April 2009 when the DPRK claims to have begun its Yongbyon enrichment facility construction.
• Based on the apparent scale of the facility, the fast progress the DPRK has made in its construction, and the evidence going back years that North Korea has tried to procure enrichment-related material from abroad, it is likely that North Korea had been pursuing an enrichment capability long before the April 2009 date it now claims. If so, there is a clear likelihood that DPRK has built other uranium enrichment-related facilities in its territory.
• These actions by North Korea are clear violations of the sanctions regime established by UN Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874 and of its commitments under the 2005 Joint Statement.
• These new revelations must be viewed in light of North Korea’s long track record of proliferation and of pursuit of nuclear weapons.
• If the assertions by North Korea are true, a uranium enrichment capability in the DPRK could bolster its pursuit of a weapons capability and increases our concerns about prospects for onward proliferation of fissile material and of sensitive technologies to other parties.
• It is imperative that North Korea fulfill its commitments under the 2005 Joint Statement and comply with its obligations under Resolutions 1718 and 1874 by immediately ceasing all nuclear programs and related activities, including those related to its uranium enrichment program.
• These revelations by North Korea underscore the critical need to effectively close all avenues for the DPRK to circumvent United Nations sanctions. All countries must be vigilant and redouble efforts to implement the relevant UN Security Council resolutions fully and transparently. To do otherwise would be to imperil the international nonproliferation regime which helps safeguard against the spread of sensitive nuclear technologies and weapons of mass destruction.
Our position remains the same. We will not accept North Korea as a nuclear weapon state. We remain committed to the 2005 Joint Statement and its core goal of the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner. We are consulting closely with our Five-Party partners on these new developments. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Ambassador Stephen Bosworth recently led a U.S. delegation to Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing to discuss next steps; we have also discussed these matters with Moscow. We are all in strong agreement that a multilateral diplomatic approach remains essential and that we are committed to the full implementation of the September 2005 Joint Statement, including, the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Consistent with the requirements of UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874, the United States and our Five-Party partners also continue to maintain our strong interest in the return of IAEA inspectors to the DPRK. To that end, we encourage the Secretariat to maintain the capability to re-establish implementation of verification activities in the DPRK. We seek an immediate halt of all nuclear activities in the DPRK, including enrichment, leading to verifiable and irreversible denuclearization, and to North Korea’s return, at an early date, to the NPT and to IAEA safeguards.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.