The U.S. State Department has designated three individuals directly tied proliferation activities.
“For 60 years, the United States has been committed to ensuring peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula,” National Security Advisor to the President Tom Donilon said on March 11 at The Asia Society. “The United States will not accept North Korea as a nuclear state; nor will we stand by while it seeks to develop a nuclear-armed missile that can target the United States.”
As part of the effort to further impede North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, the U.S. State Department has designated three individuals directly tied to North Korea’s proliferation activities.
The first is Pak To-Chun, the head of the Munitions Industry Department, which manages North Korea’s weapons production and arms exports. Pak is a full member of the Korean Worker Party’s Political Bureau, North Korea’s highest decision-making body, as well the National Defense Commission, which oversees elements of North Korea’s security apparatus.
Chu Kyu-Chang is a an alternate member of the Political Bureau and directs the Munitions Industry Department. He has headed departments responsible for the research and development of advanced weapons systems, including missiles and, probably, nuclear weapons, as well as the production of North Korea’s ballistic missiles.
The final designation is O Kuk-Ryol, Vice Chairman of the North Korean National Defense Commission. He previously headed the Party’s Operations Department, where he ordered the establishment of a nuclear research and development organization directly under his control.
The U.S. Treasury Department also designated the Foreign Trade Bank of the DPRK, North Korea’s primary foreign exchange bank, and Paek Se-Bong, chairman of North Korea’s Second Economic Committee, for WMD proliferation-related activity.
North Korea will face further isolation if it refuses to take concrete steps to comply with its international obligations and address the concerns of the international community over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The United States continues to encourage North Korea to choose the path of peace and remains prepared to engage with North Korea if it changes its course. North Korea must demonstrate its seriousness of purpose and commitment to authentic and credible negotiations by taking meaningful steps to show it will abide by its denuclearization commitments and respect international law.