Highlighting that North Korea still persists as one of the thorniest challenges confronting the United States and the international community, United States of America today said DPRK’s nuke test will lead to costly consequences.
In his testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on U.S. Policy Toward North Korea, Special Representative for North Korea Glyn Davies says Pyongyang’s February 12 announcement of a third nuclear test conducted in brazen defiance of the demands of the UN Security Council and its subsequent threats to conduct even more follow-on “measures” are only the latest in a long line of reminders that the DPRK’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs and proliferation activities pose serious threats to U.S. national security, to regional security in the Asia-Pacific, and to the global nonproliferation regime.
North Korea’s nuclear test has costly consequences
The US is working with the international community to make clear that North Korea’s nuclear test has costly consequences.
According to Mr. Davies, in adopting Resolution 2087 in January after the December launch, the UN Security Council pledged to take “significant action” in the event of a nuclear test; we are working hard at the UN Security Council to make good on that pledge.
“We are intensively engaged with our Six-Party partners, members of the UN Security Council, and other UN member states on a strong and credible response by the international community.” – Mr. Davies
Mr. Davies states China’s support for firm action remains key, and US is deeply engaged with the Chinese in shaping an appropriate response.
US is also strengthening its close coordination with its Six-Party partners and regional allies.
And through a whole-of-government approach, working closely with its partners in the Department of Defense and other agencies, US will take the steps necessary to defend itself and its allies, particularly the ROK and Japan.
In addition, reassured both Seoul and Tokyo, at the highest levels, of our commitment to extended deterrence through the U.S. nuclear umbrella, conventional capabilities, and missile defense.
According to Mr. Davies, North Korea’s WMD, ballistic missile, conventional arms, and proliferation activities constitute a serious and unacceptable threat to U.S. national security, to say nothing of the integrity of the global nonproliferation regime, which many around the world have labored over generations to devise, nurture, and enforce.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Effective, targeted multilateral and national sanctions will consequently remain a vital component of its efforts to impede the DPRK’s efforts to advance its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs and proliferation activities, Mr. Davies said.
He says UNSCR 2087 was an important step forward in this regard.
Combined with the measures in resolutions 1718 and 1874, UNSCR 2087 further constricts North Korea’s efforts to procure weapons components, send agents abroad, smuggle dual-use items, and make headway on its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, Mr. Davies noted.
Mr. Davies stresses that full and transparent implementation of these resolutions by all UN member states, including China, is critical.
The US is actively engaged with the international community to underscore the importance of full enforcement of these measures.
US sanctions on North Korean entities
According to Mr. Davies, the US continues to exercise national authorities to sanction North Korean entities, individuals, and those that support them in facilitating programs that threaten the American people.
Mr. Davies say most recently, on January 24, the Departments of State and the Treasury designated a number of North Korean individuals and entities under Executive Order 13382, which targets actors involved in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters.
In addition, the Department of State designated the Korean Committee for Space Technology, North Korea’s space agency and several officials directly involved in North Korea’s April 2012 and December 2012 launches, which contributed to the DPRK’s long-range ballistic missile development efforts.
Mr. Davies cites the Department of the Treasury designated several Beijing-based North Korean officials linked to the DPRK’s Tanchon Commercial Bank, which has been designated by the UN and the United States for its role in facilitating the sales of conventional arms, ballistic missiles, and related items.
The Treasury Department also targeted Leader (Hong Kong) International Trading Limited, a Hong Kong-based firm, for its links to the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation, the DPRK’s premier arms dealer and exporter of missile- and weapon-related goods.
“We will continue to take national measures as appropriate.” – Mr. Davies
US working with the UN Security Council’s DPRK sanctions committee
According to Mr. Davies, the US is also working closely with the UN Security Council’s DPRK sanctions committee and its Panel of Experts, the EU and like-minded partners, and others around the globe to harmonize their sanctions programs and to ensure the full and transparent implementation of UNSCRs 1718, 1874, and 2087, which remain the heart of the multilateral sanctions regime.
Mr. Davies explains sanctions are not a punitive measure, but rather a tool to impede the development of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and proliferation-related exports, as well as to make clear the costs of North Korea’s defiance of its international obligations.
He emphasizes that working toward the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner will require an openness to meaningful dialogue with the DPRK.
“But the real choice is up to Pyongyang.” – Mr. Davies
DPRK continues to violate international obligations
According to Mr. Davies, Pyongyang continues to violate its international obligations and commitments, including to denuclearize.
“Its human rights record remains deplorable. Its economy is stagnant.” – Mr. Davies
He says its people are impoverished.
It pours significant sums into nuclear and ballistic missile programs that are forbidden by the United Nations, he added.
Mr. points out that the leadership’s choices are isolating North Korea from the international community.
International outrage against North Korea and its provocative and threatening actions, meanwhile, continues to grow, he underlined.
DPRK rebuffs US offer for reconcilition
According to Mr. Davies, the DPRK has consistently failed to take advantage of the alternatives available.
The United States offered and has continued to offer Pyongyang an improved relationship with the United States and integration into the international community, provided North Korea demonstrated a willingness to fulfill its denuclearization commitments and address other concerns.
The DPRK rebuffed these offers and instead responded with a series of provocations that drew widespread international condemnation.
Pyongyang Violates denuclearization commitments
Mr. Davies says Pyongyang announced its commitment to, among other things, a moratorium on nuclear tests, long-range missile launches, and all nuclear activity, including uranium enrichment activity, at the Yongbyon nuclear complex.
North Korea also committed to allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to return to Yongbyon to monitor the cessation of uranium enrichment and confirm the disablement of plutonium-related facilities there, he said.
However, but just 16 days later, North Korea reneged on these commitments by announcing its intent to launch a satellite into orbit.
“Such launches use ballistic missile technology proscribed by multiple UN Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs).” – Mr. Davies
He notes that they had made it abundantly clear during their negotiations that such a launch, even if characterized as a satellite launch, would be a deal-breaker.
Pyongyang nevertheless conducted such a launch on April 13 and was greeted by deep international opprobrium, he added.
He says all five Six-Party partners China, Russia, the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and Japan joined a long list of states publicly condemning Pyongyang’s provocation.
According to Mr. Davies, The UN Security Council unanimously issued a Presidential Statement condemning the act as a “serious violation” of UNSCRs 1718 and 1874, tightened existing sanctions, and made clear its commitment to “take action accordingly” in the event of another launch.
DPPR’s missile launch draws international condemnation
According to Mr. Davies, North Korea again brazenly defied the international community on December 12, 2012, with another long-range missile launch, again characterized by the DPRK as a satellite launch, in flagrant violation of UN Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874 and in the face of united public and private calls by the international community to desist.
Over 60 countries and international organizations issued statements criticizing the launch, Mr. Davies said.
Mr. Davies says the UN Security Council unanimously adopted UNSCR 2087, which condemned the launch, further expanded the scope of sanctions on the DPRK, and promised “significant action” in the event of a future DPRK missile launch or nuclear test.
He notes that the DPRK’s February 12 announcement of a nuclear test, which Pyongyang proclaimed was targeted against the United States, represents an even bolder threat to U.S. national security, the stability of the region, and the global nonproliferation regime. The international response has been unprecedented.
Over 80 countries and international organizations from all corners of the world have decried the test, Mr. Davies noted.
“Many are speaking out against DPRK provocations for the first time.” – Mr. Davies
As the list continues to grow, it is increasingly clear that an international consensus is coalescing in opposition to North Korea’s destabilizing activities, Mr. Davies said.
US committed to authentic negotiations with DPRK
The remains committed to authentic and credible negotiations to implement the September 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks and to bring North Korea into compliance with its international obligations through irreversible steps leading to denuclearization, according to Mr. Davied
Mr. Davies says the President made this clear last November when he said, “…let go of your nuclear weapons and choose the path of peace and progress. If you do, you will find an extended hand from the United States of America.”
However, Mr. Davies states the obvious: North Korea’s reckless provocations have certainly raised the bar for a return to dialogue.
“The United States will not engage in talks for the sake of talks.” – Mr. Davies
Rather, what US wants are negotiations that address the real issue of North Korea’s nuclear program.
He points out that authentic and credible negotiations therefore require a serious, meaningful change in North Korea’s priorities demonstrating that Pyongyang is prepared to meet its commitments and obligations to achieve the core goal of the September 2005 Joint Statement: the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner.
US will not accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state.
Mr. Davies stresses that first and foremost, the United States will not accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state.
US will not reward the DPRK for the absence of bad behavior.
He says US will not compensate the DPRK merely for returning to dialogue.
The US also has also made clear that U.S.-DPRK relations cannot fundamentally improve without sustained improvement in inter-Korean relations and human rights.
“Nor will we tolerate North Korea provoking its neighbors. These positions will not change.” – Mr. Davies
US diplomacy with DPRK continues
Mr. Davies says in the meantime, active U.S. diplomacy on North Korea on a wide range of issues continues.
He says close coordination with its valued treaty allies, the ROK and Japan, remains central to our approach.
ROK President Park Geun-hye and President Obama agree on the need for continued close U.S.-ROK coordination on a range of security issues, including North Korea.
“We are confident of President Park’s commitment to the U.S.-ROK alliance and anticipate close consultation with her administration on its North Korea strategy.” – Mr. Davies
Close consultation will also continue with Japan, he added.
Mr. Davies says during his visit to Washington in late February, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Obama agreed to continue working together closely in responding to the threat posed by North Korea, including through coordination on sanctions measures.
US is also expanding its engagement by developing new dialogues on North Korea with key global actors who have joined the rising chorus of regional and global voices calling on North Korea to fulfill its commitments, comply with its international obligations, and refrain from provocative acts that undermine regional security and the global nonproliferation regime.
US still concerned the welfare of North Korea’s nearly 25 million people
According to Mr. Kerry, while denuclearization remains an essential focus of U.S. policy, so, too, does the welfare of North Korea’s nearly 25 million people, the vast majority of whom bear the brunt of their government’s decision to perpetuate an unsustainable, self-impoverishing military-first policy.
He says while the DPRK devotes limited resources to developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles and devising ways to avoid sanctions, one in three North Korean children is chronically malnourished, according to a 2009 UNICEF estimate.
He reports that an elaborate network of political prison camps in the country is reportedly estimated to contain 100,000-200,000 inmates, who are subjected to forced labor, torture, and starvation.
“It has been reported that whole families have been condemned in most cases without trial when one member commits an alleged crime.” – Mr. Davies
Even outside this prison-camp system, the North Korean government dictates nearly all aspects of people’s lives through a highly structured social classification system called “songbun”, which it uses to divide North Korea’s population into categories, Mr. Davies noted.
According to Mr. Davies, this system, in turn, determines access to education and health care, employment opportunities, place of residence, and marriage prospects.
On human rights conditions in DPRK
Mr. Davies says improving human rights conditions is an integral part of its North Korea policy, and how the DPRK addresses human rights will have a significant impact on prospects for improved U.S.-DPRK ties.
“The world is increasingly taking note of the grave, widespread, and systematic human rights violations in the DPRK and demanding action.” – Mr. Davies
He cites that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has called for an in-depth international inquiry to document abuses.
US continues, meanwhile, to engage countries across the globe to raise awareness about North Korea and enlist their help in pushing for action.
US is also working with international and non-governmental organizations to improve the situation on the ground for the North Korean people, including by supporting the flow of independent information into the DPRK.
Working with the Broadcasting Board of Governors, Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, and independent broadcasters in the ROK, US aims to provide information to the North Korean people and over the longer term plant the seeds for the development of civil society.
DPRK must choose peace instead of provocation
According to Mr. Davies, the Obama Administration’s dual-track policy of engagement and pressure toward the DPRK reflects a bipartisan recognition that only a policy of openness to dialogue when possible, combined with sustained, robust pressure through sanctions when necessary, can maximize prospects for progress in denuclearizing North Korea.
“Progress on this decades-old problem will not be achieved easily or quickly.” – Mr. Davies
He stresses that genuine progress requires a fundamental shift in North Korea’s strategic calculus.
He says the DPRK leadership must choose between provocation or peace, isolation or integration.
North Korea will not achieve security, economic prosperity, and integration into the international community while it pursues nuclear weapons, threatens its neighbors, tramples on international norms, abuses its own people, and refuses to fulfill its longstanding obligations and commitments, Mr. Davies underlined
He adds the international community has been increasingly clear about this, and so have we.
“The DPRK leadership in Pyongyang faces sharp choices. And we are working to further sharpen those choices.” – Mr. Davies
He adds if the North Korean regime is at all wise, it will re-embark on the path to denuclearization for the benefit of the North Korean people, the Northeast Asia region, and the world.
World Slams North Korea’s Nuke test
Describing North Korea’s nuclear test as highly provocative, the United States of America said countries around the world, including every member of the Security Council, agreed that this test was an extremely regrettable act that further undermines international peace and security, as well as that of the region.
US said the nuclear test directly violates the DPRK’s obligations under several unanimous Security Council resolutions, including 1718, 1874, and 2087.
US asserts North Korea does not and will not benefit from violating international law.
To address the persistent danger posed by North Korea’s threatening activities, the UN Security Council must and will deliver a swift, credible, and strong response by way of a Security Council resolution that further impedes the growth of DPRK’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs and its ability to engage in proliferation activities.
In addition, the DPRK continued with nuclear tests targeting and defying the United States, stating its “sworn enemy” following the Security Council adopted a resolution condemning its Dec. 12 rocket launch.
Since the adoption of Resolution 1874, countries have intercepted and seized tons of contraband cargo, including a massive arms shipment uncovered by Thailand in December. These interdictions show that countries are taking seriously their obligations to enforce these tough new measures. The United States will continue to press on sanctions implementation until there is concrete, verifiable progress on denuclearization.
Advancing human rights is a top U.S. priority in US North Korea policy as well and is among the primary factors that will determine if any long-term improvement between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) will be possible.