U.S. Statement – As Prepared for Ambassador Laura S.H. Holgate – Agenda Item 7b – Applications of Safeguards in the DPRK
Vienna, Austria, September 12, 2023
Thank you, Chair.
The United States would like to express 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 for the latest report contained in document GOV/2023/41. We strongly support the IAEA’s continued work to maintain readiness to carry out monitoring and verification activities in the DPRK, if called upon to do so.
We are deeply concerned by the DPRK’s continued efforts to advance its unlawful nuclear weapons program, and moreover by the DPRK’s irresponsible and escalatory rhetoric related to the development of nuclear weapons and expansion of its nuclear arsenal. As noted in the Director General’s report, there are indications of activities consistent with continued operation of both the 5MW(e) reactor and enrichment facility at Yongbyon, as well as new construction and activities related to the uncovering of waste storage tanks. In light of these developments, statements from the DRPK regime calling for an exponential increase in the DPRK’s nuclear arsenal should be cause for universal concern and condemnation.
The DPRK is also poised to conduct a new nuclear explosive test, which would be its seventh. As we have stated previously, we 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.
As a reminder, activities related to the DPRK’s nuclear weapons program violate multiple UN Security Council resolutions that require the DPRK to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs. We continue to urge the DPRK to return at an early date to, and fully comply with, the NPT and IAEA safeguards. We will continue to consult closely with our partners and allies in the region on how best to deter DPRK aggression and respond to its multiple violations of the UNSCRs. In particular, last April’s Washington Declaration between President Biden and President Yoon of South Korea 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 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. Our goal remains the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and we are open to diplomacy and dialogue without preconditions. We harbor no hostile intent towards the DPRK and have sought to engage the DPRK in multiple ways – through third parties and directly, orally and in writing – and 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.
It is therefore imperative that all Member States fully implement relevant UN Security Council resolutions so that we send a clear signal that the DPRK must halt provocations, abide by its obligations, and engage in sustained and substantive negotiations with the United States.
Thank you, Chair.