Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Nonproliferation and the DPRK

Ambassador Kelly Craft
Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
December 11, 2019


Because of the increasingly troubling situation on the Korean Peninsula, the United States called today’s meeting of the Security Council. We must address this issue in a comprehensive manner. Over the past year and a half, the United States has sought to engage the DPRK in a sustained negotiating process intended to bring lasting peace to all people of the Korean Peninsula, and safety and security to the surrounding region.

The process to achieve this vision, as President Trump and Chairman Kim agreed to in Singapore, would advance by replacing decades of acrimony with trust, working towards genuine and lasting peace, achieving the complete denuclearization of the DPRK, and healing the lingering wounds of war that date back nearly 70 years.

We have said many times before that we remain ready to engage in this comprehensive process. We remain ready to take actions in parallel, and to simultaneously take concrete steps towards this agreement. We are prepared to be flexible in how we approach this matter. And we recognize the need for a balanced agreement that addresses the concerns of all the parties. But we cannot do this alone – North Korea must make this difficult, but bold decision to work with us.

However, we have seen deeply troubling indications that the DPRK is headed in a different direction – the reason for today’s meeting. As we have discussed several times, the DPRK has launched more than two dozen ballistic missiles just this year. These ballistic missile tests, no matter their range, undermine regional security and stability and are in clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions. These actions also risk closing the door on this opportunity to find a better way for the future.

The DPRK has threatened to take a “new path” in the coming weeks and has used its public statements to hint at a resumption of serious provocations. In practical terms, this would mean that the DPRK could launch space vehicles using long-range ballistic missile technology, or that they could even test launch intercontinental ballistic missiles, which are designed to attack the continental United States with nuclear weapons.

Let me be clear, the United States and the Security Council have a goal – not a deadline. We have outlined this goal, in detail, in a series of unanimously adopted Security Council resolutions. We want to use this timely briefing to make crystal clear to the DPRK that its continued ballistic missile testing is deeply counterproductive to the shared objectives that President Trump and Chairman Kim have discussed on two occasions.

Missile and nuclear testing will not bring the DPRK greater security. It will not bring the DPRK or the region greater stability. It will not help the DPRK achieve the economic opportunities it seeks. In fact, it will do the opposite, complicating our ability to negotiate an agreement that would positively address the DPRK’s security and economic goals, and improve regional stability.

We hope that we do not find ourselves at an inflection point in the near future. We trust that the DPRK will turn away from further hostility and threats, and instead make a bold decision to engage with all of us.

If events prove otherwise, we, this Security Council, must all prepare to act accordingly.

Thank you.


***Additional Remarks***


I shall now make a further statement in my capacity as the Representative of the United States. Any discussion of a new roadmap or Security Council resolution must bear in mind the reality that over the past year and a half, the DPRK has continued to advance its prohibited programs, test its prohibited programs, and repeatedly refuse to engage in sustained diplomatic engagement. We have not asked North Korea to do everything, before we do anything.

The United States is prepared to be flexible on how we approach this matter. We recognize the need for a balanced agreement and parallel actions that address the concerns of all parties. In fact, we have taken many steps to bring about the resolution through dialogue and have conveyed this message clearly to North Korea. But we need a committed negotiating partner to take the reciprocal actions required for progress. We are happy to consider ideas put forth by our counterparts, that could advance the agreement that President Trump and Chairman Kim agreed to in Singapore. And if they do, we can work together to achieve this outcome. I resume my function as President of the Council.