IAEA Board of Governors Meeting – Agenda Item 6b – Nuclear Verification – Application of Safeguards in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
U.S. Statement as Delivered by Ambassador Laura S.H. Holgate
Vienna, Austria, March 8, 2023
Thank you, Chair.
The United States once again expresses its appreciation to the Director General and the Secretariat for their continued efforts to monitor developments with respect to the DPRK’s nuclear program, and we would like to reiterate our strong support for the Secretariat’s work to maintain readiness to carry out monitoring and verification activities in the DPRK, if called upon to do so.
The threats posed by the DPRK’s unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programs have only increased. As the Director General reported last August, the DPRK continues to operate key facilities associated with the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, and has also worked to reconstitute tunnels and infrastructure at its nuclear test site. A seventh nuclear test, which would be the DPRK’s first since 2017, would constitute a grave escalation and seriously threaten regional and global security and stability.
In light of these ongoing activities, we are especially concerned by the DPRK regime’s increasingly aggressive rhetoric regarding its nuclear program, in particular its recent call to exponentially increase the size of the DPRK’s nuclear arsenal and to mass produce tactical nuclear weapons. Last year, the DPRK conducted an unprecedented number of ballistic missile launches, of which nine involved intercontinental ballistic missiles. The DPRK has even characterized some of its recent ballistic missile launches as trial runs for the use of tactical nuclear weapons.
As we have repeatedly and publicly assured the world, we harbor no hostile intent towards the DPRK and we seek dialogue without preconditions. Regrettably, the DPRK continues to not respond and has shown no interest in engaging. We must collectively make clear to the DPRK that its escalatory behavior and dangerous rhetoric have consequences. We continue to consult closely with our partners and allies to prepare for all contingencies, and call on the DPRK to cease its destabilizing activities and engage in serious and sustained diplomacy. The DPRK must also fully comply with all of its obligations under relevant UN Security Council resolutions, and we call on all Member States to fully implement the associated multilateral, legally binding sanctions regime. It is our shared responsibility to maintain a united front against the DPRK’s unlawful and destabilizing behavior and to demonstrate to the DPRK that diplomacy is the only path forward.
Thank you, Chair.