IAEA Board of Governors Meeting: 21 September 2016
Statement by HE Mr David Stuart, Resident Representative to the IAEA
Agenda Item 8 (b): Application of Safeguards in the DPRK
My delegation associates itself with the statement delivered by my German colleague on behalf of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI).
Australia condemns absolutely the reckless, provocative and dangerous action of North Korea in undertaking its fifth nuclear test on 9 September. We also condemn the more than twenty ballistic missile tests that it has conducted this year alone. We are concerned that these tests contribute to North Korea’s development of nuclear weapon delivery systems and increase tensions in our region.
We stand firm with our allies and regional partners in condemning these provocative actions by North Korea and calling on it to immediately desist from such irresponsible and dangerous behaviour. It is critically important that North Korea abandons its nuclear and missile programs and abides by its international obligations, to ensure denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
We share the serious concern expressed by the Director General in his latest report (GOV/2016/45) regarding North Korea’s nuclear program, which demonstrates continued flouting of UN Security Council (UNSC) and IAEA resolutions by North Korea.
We remain concerned by the operation of facilities at the Yongbyon complex, including the 5MW(e) reactor and reprocessing facility, the continued use of the centrifuge enrichment facility, and ongoing construction at the Light Water Reactor, which also represents a breach of UNSC resolutions.
We remain concerned at other possible breaches including indications of ongoing mining, milling and concentration activities at the Pyongsan uranium mine and concentration plant.
We remain concerned by continued provocative statements by North Korea, including public announcements claiming advances in nuclear warhead miniaturization and nuclear weapons delivery systems, and the claim that it has “standardized” a warhead to be mounted on strategic ballistic rockets.
The East Asian Summit statement on Non-Proliferation, secured by Australia and Myanmar in Laos earlier this month, sets out the determination and commitment of regional leaders to support non-proliferation and their deep concerns with regard to North Korea.
Australia calls on the global community to work together more rigorously than ever in addressing the threat posed by North Korea through thorough implementation of existing sanctions, to ensure North Korea is not rewarded for its continued and persistent breaches of UNSC and IAEA Resolutions, and to implement new sanctions if behaviour is not altered.
Australia co-sponsored UNSC Resolution 2270 on 2 March. We are implementing UNSC sanctions fully and will continue to take all necessary steps to deter North Korea’s dangerous ambitions. We welcome the quick action of the UNSC on 9 September in agreeing to begin work immediately on appropriate further measures.
North Korea’s ongoing development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, and its proliferation of sensitive technologies also challenge the Treaty on Nuclear Non-Proliferation (NPT) and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Swift condemnation of North Korea’s latest nuclear test underlines the strength of the de facto norm against nuclear testing, and reinforces the importance of entry into force of the CTBT, which opened for signature 20 years ago this month.
Australia joins others in urging North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. Australia calls on North Korea to cease its nuclear-weapons program; comply with IAEA resolutions calling for a restart of full cooperation with the IAEA and its safeguards obligations; heed the requirements of the UNSC to cease its nuclear activities; and fulfil its commitments to denuclearise under the 2005 Six-Party Talks Joint Statement and under relevant UNSC resolutions.
We look forward to a robust resolution on this issue at the General Conference next week, to reinforce the international community’s message that North Korea’s continued provocative acts are unacceptable. The North Korean regime should focus instead on the welfare of its people.
We will continue to work with partners regionally and globally in taking the necessary steps to address the threat posed by North Korea.
We support the IAEA maintaining its readiness to play a key role in verifying North Korea’s nuclear program.