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Blinken on Countering the North Korean Threat


A man watches a TV news program showing a file image of missile launch conducted by North Korea, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Oct. 20, 2016.

“This is a regime, that operates enormous political prison camps at home, denies its citizens nearly all basic rights, and imposes a system of surveillance and censorship so repressive it has no comparison in the modern age.”

The North Korea regime continues to refuse to give up its autocratic and repressive ways, said U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a speech in Seoul, South Korea.

“This is a regime,” he said,” that operates enormous political prison camps at home, denies its citizens nearly all basic rights, and imposes a system of surveillance and censorship so repressive it has no comparison in the modern age.”

This is a regime that prioritizes nuclear weapons and missiles over the well-being of the North Korean people, and is the only regime in the world to test a nuclear weapon in the 21st century.

Against this threat, said Deputy Secretary Blinken, the “United States is committed to protecting ourselves, defending our allies, meeting our treaty obligations, and providing extended deterrence, guaranteed by the full spectrum of U.S. defense capabilities.”

The U.S. and its partners will not accept North Korea as a nuclear state. Through diplomacy, deterrence, and pressure, the international community will build a comprehensive and sustained campaign that increases the costs on North Korea until it returns to serious talks on denuclearization and complies with its international obligations and commitments.

After this year’s North Korean nuclear and missile tests, the U.S. and South Korea decided to deploy the THAAD missile defense system to South Korea.

The U.S. has also modernized its alliance with Japan, another frequent target of North Korea’s threats, updating guidelines that hadn’t been revised in over 17 years.North Korea’s diplomatic position will continue to weaken, as its behavior invites growing isolation and condemnation around the world.

Earlier this year, the United States sanctioned Kim Jong-un and 14 other senior officials associated with the regime’s grave human rights abuses.

Moreover, China and Russia - North Korea’s traditional guarantors - are growing tired of defending the increasingly erratic and outlying regime.

“The objective is simple and straightforward,” said Deputy Secretary Blinken. “It is not to bring Kim Jong-un to his knees. It is to him back to the table for meaningful, credible talks on denuclearization ... Until then, we will continue to sharpen the choice for the DPRK, so that it understands, as much as it does not want to denuclearize, the alternative for the DPRK will be worse.”

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