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1/9/03 - RESPONSE TO NORTH KOREA - 2003-01-10

The United States supports the January 6th resolution adopted by the International Atomic Energy Agency regarding recent actions by North Korea. The agency deplored the Pyongyang regime’s acts to remove and disable surveillance equipment at North Korean nuclear facilities, and the expulsion of agency inspectors.

North Korea’s decision to restart its plutonium production facilities, without monitoring, and its pursuit of a nuclear weapons program compound its existing violation of signed agreements. North Korea is a signatory of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and must abide by that agreement.

Ambassador Kenneth Brill, of the U.S. Mission to International Organizations, said, “North Korea has...put itself in direct defiance of the international community’s clear demand that it must verifiably dismantle its nuclear weapons program.”

North Korea has claimed that it is restarting its facilities to meet its energy needs. But the five-megawatt reactor that North Korea is activating produces little electricity. North Korea has no legitimate peaceful use for plutonium or highly enriched uranium.

President George W. Bush has said the U.S. intends no military action against North Korea and believes the present situation can be resolved through diplomatic means. The U.S. will work to find a peaceful solution. “But,” said Ambassador Brill, “we must not and will not allow [North Korea] to turn its violation of its international obligations into political or economic benefits.”

As Ambassador Brill put it, “The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons in spite of its non-proliferation treaty commitments.” The U.S. calls on North Korea to reverse its current course, to take all steps necessary to come into immediate compliance with its non-proliferation treaty commitments, and to eliminate its nuclear weapons program.