U.S. Statement to the IAEA Board of Governors on North Korea

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting

September 12-16, 2011

Agenda Item 5(b)

Application of Safeguards in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

U.S. Statement

Ambassador Glyn Davies

Permanent U.S. Representative to the IAEA


Mr. Chairman,

We welcome the Director General’s report on the DPRK released on September 2nd, and commend the Secretariat for its work on the matter.  The report is testimony to the long history of the DPRK’s lack of cooperation with the Agency and of North Korea’s continued defiance of its international obligations and commitments.

Mr. Chairman, we share the DG’s serious concern regarding the DPRK’s nuclear activities, in particular, North Korea’s disclosure last November of a uranium enrichment program and construction of a light water reactor.  These activities are clear violations of UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874 and of the DPRK’s  commitments under the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks.  We, too, find these developments deeply troubling, particularly in light of North Korea’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability and its long track record of proliferation – to and from the DPRK – as documented in the report.    The report’s assessment of the DPRK’s enrichment-related procurements is consistent with our belief that North Korea has been pursuing enrichment for an extended period of time.   It is unlikely that the DPRK only began work on its program in April 2009, when it claims to have started construction of its Yongbyon enrichment facility.

We also note the Agency’s assessment that North Korea was the likely source of UF6 recovered by IAEA inspectors in Libya in 2004.   The Agency’s conclusion is consistent with our longstanding concern about the existence of undeclared nuclear activities in North Korea either tied to development of weapons-related nuclear technologies or in advancement of its proliferation activities.

Mr. Chairman, we second the DG’s call on the DPRK to fully comply with UNSCRs 1718 and 1874.   The information and assessments regarding the DPRK’s nuclear activities contained in the DG’s report also underscore the critical need for the international community to close all avenues for the DPRK to circumvent United Nations sanctions.  We call on all states to increase their vigilance against DPRK proliferation activities and prevent those activities from taking place in their territories through full and transparent implementation of Security Council resolutions.

The United States believes that a dual track approach offers the best prospects for achieving denuclearization.   We continue full implementation of national and multilateral sanctions.   At the same time, we remain open to dialogue with North Korea, but we are not interested in negotiations for the sake of simply talking.  The U.S.-DPRK bilateral talks held in New York in July were intended to explore North Korea’s willingness to take concrete and irreversible steps toward denuclearization.   Our message to North Korea has been consistent and it has been clear:  the DPRK must abide by its commitments under the Joint Statement, cease all nuclear activities, including enrichment, and demonstrate its seriousness on denuclearization, through substantive actions prior to the resumption of Six-Party Talks.

Mr. Chairman, the United States commends the IAEA’s efforts in producing this comprehensive report and supports the Agency’s efforts to maintain readiness to re-establish implementation of verification activities in the DPRK.    We continue to believe that the IAEA has an important role to play as we seek an immediate halt to all nuclear activities in the DPRK, leading to irreversible steps toward complete and verifiable denuclearization, and to North Korea’s return, at an early date, to the NPT and to IAEA safeguards.   The path to reintegration with the international community and greater security remains open to North Korea, should it choose to comply fully with its international obligations and commitments, help strengthen rather than undermine the global nonproliferation regime, and advance rather than endanger international peace and security.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.