Thank you to our ROK colleagues for hosting us today. It’s an honor to be here in my capacity as U.S. Senior Official for the DPRK for the first time.
The threat posed by the DPRK to regional and international peace and security remains an issue of extraordinarily high concern for the United States. The DPRK’s January 14th launch of a self-claimed intermediate range ballistic missile is the most recent reckless provocation that increases regional tension. We strongly condemn this launch, which violates multiple UN Security Council resolutions.
The DPRK’s continued development of its unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programs; its transfer of ballistic missiles and other weapons to Russia for use against Ukraine; its ongoing malicious cyber activities against countries around the world; and its continuing human rights violations and abuses against its own people – all of this demands our attention and coordinated action.
The United States is also deeply concerned by the recent uptick in hostile rhetoric, particularly towards the Republic of Korea, from the DPRK regime. Such rhetoric is unnecessarily increasing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
In the ROK and Japan, we are fortunate to have such strong allies on DPRK issues. Increased trilateral cooperation in recent years has been an important and positive development in our efforts to address the DPRK challenge.
Our work here today is very much in keeping with the commitment our leaders made at Camp David last August to carry out regular high-level consultations and a broad program of cooperation. Our commitments to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan remain ironclad, and we remain committed to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
As we have repeatedly made clear, the United States harbors no hostile intent towards the DPRK. We are prepared to meet with the DPRK without any preconditions to discuss any and all issues of mutual concern. Unfortunately, the DPRK continues to reject offers of dialogue.
In the meantime, we will continue our efforts to deter aggression, hinder the DPRK’s ability to advance its unlawful weapons programs; strengthen international consensus against the DPRK’s blatant, repeated, and reckless violations of multiple UN Security Council resolutions; and enhance our ability to protect our allies in the region.
Today, Special Representative Kim, Director General Namazu, and I will discuss these and other pressing issues as we seek to promote global peace and security.