Statement to the IAEA Board of Governors on North Korea

Robert Wood
Chargé d’Affaires
U.S. Mission to the IAEA

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to begin by thanking Director General Amano for the report on the DPRK issued last week. We commend the IAEA for its sustained focus on the DPRK’s nuclear program and for keeping the Board apprised of developments that seriously concern all Member States. The IAEA’s efforts to maintain readiness to return to the DPRK have the international community’s unqualified support. The IAEA’s role in the verifiable denuclearization of the DPRK is at the core of the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks and an essential element of UN Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874.

As the Director General’s report underscores, however, contrary to its commitments and obligations, the DPRK has, to date, prevented the IAEA from implementing monitoring and verification activities, and continues to engage in nuclear activities and expand its nuclear infrastructure.   We note with particular concern the light water reactor construction activities documented in the report, and the uranium enrichment facility at Yongbyon, both of which are deeply troubling and stand in clear violation of UN resolutions 1718 and 1874.

Mr. Chairman, over the long history of diplomatic negotiations on its nuclear program, time and again, the DPRK has responded to good faith efforts with a show of bad faith.   Despite consistent calls to reverse course and demonstrate its commitment to denuclearization through positive and concrete action, it has continued down the path of defiance.  Most recently, we have seen statements from Pyongyang that it intends to, in its words, “totally reexamine its nuclear policy” under the false pretext of a U.S. so called “hostile policy.”  Any action by the DPRK to renege on its commitments under the 2005 Joint Statement, which is the bedrock of the Six-Party process and a critical element for peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia, will continue to ensure the DPRK’s international isolation.

Mr. Chairman, the international community should strongly condemn any such renunciation by the DPRK of its commitments and obligations as a challenge against international peace and security and the global nonproliferation regime.  The international community cannot allow the DPRK to abandon its commitment to denuclearization and the 2005 Joint Statement.  Let me reiterate in no uncertain terms: we will not accept North Korea as a nuclear weapon state.  Our core objective will remain complete, irreversible, and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner, and the DPRK’s return to the NPT and IAEA safeguards.

Our message to Pyongyang is consistent and clear: the only way out of international isolation for North Korea is to reaffirm its commitment to the 2005 Joint Statement, and move in a clear and committed fashion toward abandoning all its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs.  North Korea should begin to restore international confidence by refraining from any further nuclear tests or long-range missile launches; ceasing all nuclear activities, including uranium enrichment and light water reactor construction; and allowing the IAEA to resume its long-term presence to monitor and verify the cessation.

We also call on all Member States to remain vigilant against North Korea’s proliferation activities, to implement the relevant UN Security Council resolutions fully and transparently, and to send North Korea an unambiguous message that turning its back on its international commitments and obligations is not in its best interest.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.