Thank you, Mr. President.
The Security Council is sending a clear message to North Korea today: Stop firing ballistic missiles, or face the consequences. The members of this Council – including three of North Korea’s closest neighbors – agreed that North Korea’s missiles are a threat to international peace and security, and that the international community must respond to the threat. It is long past time for North Korea to see the writing on the wall. The international community is coming together to take action, and the pressure will not cease until North Korea complies fully with this Council’s resolutions.
North Korea’s provocative and illegal missile launches are a direct threat to the security of numerous countries, including my own. Missiles have already fallen perilously close to South Korea, Japan, and most recently, Russia. Each North Korean rocket has the potential to hit an airplane or ship, which threatens civilian lives. Each test ratchets up tensions in the region. But despite all the risks, and the sanctions this Council has imposed so far, North Korea still chooses to keep escalating.
The reason that North Korea keeps launching these missiles is obvious: they openly say they want the ability to deliver their weapons of mass destruction over long distances to U.S., South Korean, and Japanese cities. That is why the regime’s ballistic missile tests are increasing.
With each launch, North Korea gains valuable technical data to make even more progress. But bit by bit, North Korea wants to extend its reach.
The Security Council has rightfully – and repeatedly – condemned these launches and required North Korea to suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program. Foreign ministers gathered here one month ago to demand that North Korea stop. Today’s resolution shows that these were not just words.
The United States will work tirelessly to make sure that the international community never gets used to North Korea’s violations or looks the other way. And North Korea must understand that the international community will never accept the regime’s development and testing of nuclear weapons.
Until North Korea reconsiders, all UN Member States must do their part to increase pressure. North Korea is a global threat that requires a global response. There is still a lot of room to improve implementation of this Security Council’s sanctions on North Korea. This is why the United States renews its call on responsible states to sever diplomatic ties and cease illegal trade with North Korea. Countries must also do more to break up North Korean smuggling rings, and cut off the sources of funding North Korea uses to pay for the development of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them.
The United States will continue to seek a peaceful, diplomatic resolution to this situation. We want a negotiated solution, but North Korea must fulfill its basic obligations by first stopping all ballistic missile launches and nuclear weapons testing, and taking concrete steps towards getting rid of its nuclear weapons program.
Our goal is not regime change. The United States has no wish to threaten the North Korean people or destabilize the Asia-Pacific region. And we have never closed the door to dialogue with North Korea.
But as we have said before, all options for responding to future provocations must remain on the table. Beyond diplomatic and financial consequences, the United States remains prepared to counteract North Korean aggression through other means, if necessary.
The United States is fully committed to defending ourselves and our allies against North Korean aggression. It is again up to North Korea to decide whether to stay on this dangerous path. As the Security Council showed today, future missile launches and nuclear tests are absolutely unacceptable. We hope North Korea sees this response, and chooses a more constructive path toward stability, security, and peace.