The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continues to prioritize weapons and ballistic missile programs at the expense of regional and international security - as well as the Korean people, said U.S. Special Representative for the DPRK Sung Kim.
Speaking to reporters in Washington, Kim noted that Pyongyang has conducted thirteen ballistic missile tests since the beginning of 2022, and at least three of those were intercontinental ballistic missiles. The DPRK government deploys its limited resources to fund its illegal weapons programs “even as the humanitarian situation in the country has grown increasingly dire,” said Special Representative Kim. Pyongyang’s actions “pose a serious threat to regional stability.”
In the face of the DPRK’s violations of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions, the United States, along with its allies and partners, is responding with efforts to counter the military threat and constrain the progress of the DPRK’s missile programs, while at the same time keeping open the door to diplomacy – all with the goal of a complete de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
In March, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command ordered intensified surveillance and reconnaissance collection activities in the Yellow Sea. It enhanced readiness among U.S. defense forces in the region to help ensure our allies’ security. The Command also conducted a carrier-based air demonstration in the Yellow Sea to show U.S. resolve and commitment.
In addition, the U.S. announced several new actions to help prevent the DPRK from accessing foreign items and technology to advance its prohibited weapons programs. Several individuals and entities were sanctioned, as well.
The United States also raised the DPRK’s ballistic missile launches at the UN Security Council. While Russia and the PRC have blocked efforts to produce a UN public statement, the U.S. is working with a growing group of like-minded countries to draw attention to the DPRK’s irresponsible behavior. “We need to hold [Pyongyang] accountable,” said Special Representative Kim.
“Most importantly we want to make clear to the DPRK it’s only viable path forward is through diplomacy,” he declared. “We harbor no hostile intent towards the DPRK. This administration is willing to listen to the DPRK’s full range of concerns and address difficult topics, but this can only happen through dialogue.”