U.S. Statement – As Delivered by Ambassador Laura S.H. Holgate – Agenda Item 6c – Nuclear Verification – Application of Safeguards in the DPRK
Vienna, Austria, June 6, 2023
Thank you, Chair.
The United States is gravely concerned by the DPRK’s continued efforts to advance its unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Since the beginning of 2022, the DPRK has conducted an unprecedented number of ballistic missile launches – 86 at latest count – including 11 ICBM launches. On April 13, the DPRK conducted a reported launch of a new type of solid-fueled ICBM, and just last week it attempted to launch a reported space launch vehicle, one that includes ballistic missile related technology. The DPRK has characterized some of its missile launches and other military activities as trial runs for the use of tactical nuclear weapons, and DPRK media have gone so far as to release photos of the DPRK leader posing next to reported tactical nuclear weapons.
The DPRK is also poised to conduct a new nuclear explosive test, which would be its seventh. We and the entire international community would regard a new test as a serious provocation and a grave threat to regional and global security and the international nonproliferation regime, one that would warrant a strong and unified international response.
We must not allow ourselves to become desensitized to the DPRK’s continued provocations and brazen threats and must make clear to the DPRK that its escalatory behavior has consequences. We continue to consult closely with our partners and allies in the region on how best to deter DPRK aggression and coordinate international responses to the DPRK’s violations of multiple UN Security Council resolutions. As a tangible sign of our ironclad commitment to peace and security in the region, on April 26, President Biden and President Yoon of South Korea met at the White House and issued the Washington Declaration, which reaffirms the strength of the U.S.-ROK alliance and our mutual commitment to the security of the region and to bolstering the global nonproliferation regime.
We harbor no hostile intent towards the DPRK, and we seek dialogue without preconditions; our goal remains the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. We have sought to engage the DPRK in multiple ways – through third parties and directly, orally and in writing – and have included specific proposals on humanitarian cooperation and COVID-19-related assistance. We have also emphasized our willingness to discuss practical steps both sides could take to address the security situation in the region. Regrettably, the DPRK has not responded and has shown no interest in engaging.
We urge the DPRK to refrain from further provocative and threatening activity and once again call on the DPRK to engage in serious and sustained diplomacy. We also call on all Member States to fully implement relevant UN Security Council resolutions so that we send a clear signal that the DPRK must abide by its obligations. These sanctions restrict and impede the DPRK’s ability to continue funding and developing its unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Finally, the United States continues to express its strong support and appreciation to the Director General and the Secretariat for their efforts to monitor developments with respect to the DPRK’s nuclear program and maintain readiness to carry out monitoring and verification activities in the DPRK, if called upon to do so.
Thank you, Chair.