IAEA Board of Governors Meeting
March 4-8, 2013
Agenda Item 5c
Application of Safeguards in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Ambassador Joseph Macmanus
Permanent U.S. Representative to the IAEA
The resounding condemnation that we hear in this Board room today, and from all corners of the world since February 12 when the DPRK announced it had conducted another nuclear test, reflects an overwhelming international consensus against the DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs. Following on the heels of the December 12 launch, this was a highly provocative act conducted in clear violation of North Korea’s obligations under the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, and in blatant contravention of its commitments under the September 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks. These actions undermine the global nonproliferation regime and pose a threat to international peace and security.
Our collective concern and outrage are also a clarion call for the international community to take a united and firm stand, and demonstrate that North Korea cannot defy its obligations and commitments without consequences. In adopting Resolution 2087 in January after the launch, the UN Security Council pledged to take “significant action” in the event of a nuclear test; we are now working hard at the UN Security Council to make good on that pledge.
We commend the international community’s efforts to date, and urge all UN Member States to implement all relevant UN Security Council resolutions – fully and transparently – in letter and in spirit. In light of North Korea’s relentless defiance and disregard for nonproliferation norms, there can be no room for any margin of error – and certainly no place, Mr. Chairman, for complacency. We must all commit to strict compliance with the obligations imposed by the Security Council on Member States. Through years of denial and deception, the DPRK has acquired a uranium enrichment program, and continues to engage in nuclear activities including the ongoing construction of a light water reactor at Yongbyon – all in direct violation of its obligations and commitments. We must continue to take action to impede the DPRK’s ability to acquire financial and technical resources to advance its pursuit of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery, and to guard against any efforts to proliferate proscribed items and technology abroad.
By now it should be clear to Pyongyang that its threatening
activities earn it no respect in the international arena – only unanimous condemnation and further isolation. Its rhetoric notwithstanding, provocations will not garner it the security and status it seeks: the United States and the international community will never accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state. Its denuclearization obligations and commitments remain in place. As do UN sanctions, which will remain in place until the DPRK has met its obligations. The only way for North Korea to achieve the security and prosperity it desires is by changing its fundamental calculus, opting for peace and progress, and abandoning its pursuit of nuclear weapons and all existing nuclear programs, and ceasing all related activities immediately.
These most recent provocations bring into sharp relief the dangers associated with North Korea’s long and pernicious track record of undermining the global nonproliferation regime. This record underscores the imperative of strengthening the nonproliferation regime. It also highlights the critical importance of the IAEA and its mission.
The United States remains steadfast in its support for the IAEA’s essential role in the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. We commend the Agency’s sustained and dedicated focus on the DPRK’s nuclear program, as underscored by DG Amano in his remarks, and its commitment to maintain a state of readiness for resumption of its monitoring and verification activities in the DPRK. We call on North Korea to uphold, rather than undermine, the global nonproliferation regime, including by returning at an early date to the NPT and IAEA safeguards.
The United States remains committed to an authentic and credible diplomatic process, but the onus is on North Korea to refrain from provocations, reaffirm and abide by its commitment to the September 2005 Joint Statement, and comply with its UN obligations. North Korea should begin in earnest by taking irreversible steps towards denuclearization and abandon any hope of finding acceptance or recognition, now or ever, as a nuclear-armed state. We will strengthen close coordination with allies and partners, and work with our Six-Party partners, the UN Security Council, and other UN Member States to pursue firm action to counter the North Korean threat to our common peace and security.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.