Statement by Ambassador HIKIHARA Takeshi at the IAEA Board of Governors Meeting starting on Monday, 7 March 2022: Item 5(a): Application of safeguards in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Thank you, Mr. Chair,

The Director General’s report at the end of August last year on the application of safeguards in North Korea underscores that North Korea’s nuclear activities continue to be a cause for serious concern. This report also stresses that the continuation of North Korea’s nuclear programme is a clear violation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions and is deeply regrettable. This assessment has been repeated in the DG’s Introductory Statement to the subsequent Board meetings, including the one this time.

North Korea’s continued development of nuclear and missile capabilities is a deep concern for the international community. Especially since the beginning of this year, North Korea has been launching ballistic missiles in new ways and with an extremely high frequency. Most recently, North Korea launched a ballistic missile on 5 March. It was the ninth launch since this January, including a cruise missile launch. The series of North Korea’s actions, including the recent launches, pose a threat to the peace and security of Japan, the region and the international community. Japan has lodged a strong protest to North Korea and strongly condemned its actions. North Korea’s steady improvement in its missile technology as well as its nuclear capability poses a serious challenge to the international non-proliferation regime.

Mr. Chair,

Last September at the General Conference, the resolution entitled, “Implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement between the Agency and the DPRK” was adopted by consensus, which demonstrated unified determination among IAEA Member States toward the denuclearization of North Korea.

Japan strongly urges North Korea to fully comply with all of its obligations under relevant UNSC resolutions, and to take concrete steps towards achieving complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles of all ranges, as well as related programmes and facilities, in accordance with relevant UNSC resolutions.

Japan also urges North Korea to return to full compliance with the NPT and to cooperate promptly with the Agency in the full and effective implementation of Agency comprehensive safeguards, including all necessary safeguards activities provided for in the safeguards agreement.

Japan emphasizes the critical importance for all states to fully implement relevant UNSC resolutions, and calls upon all states to continue working together to this end.

Mr. Chair,

Japan commends the impartial efforts of Director General Grossi and the Secretariat in carrying out its mandate in applying comprehensive safeguards in North Korea, and its work to enhance the Agency’s ability and readiness to verify North Korea’s nuclear programme. We deem it essential that the Agency’s expertise, knowledge and experience are utilized, and that the IAEA will play an essential role in verifying North Korea’s nuclear programme, if concrete progress towards the complete denuclearization of North Korea is made.

Japan will continue to closely coordinate with the international community to achieve a resolution of these issues of concern regarding North Korea.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.