North Korea Policy
Excerpt from the Statement of Susan Thornton
Acting Assistant Secretary
Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
U.S. Department of State
Before the House of Foreign Affairs Committee
September 12, 2017
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Signs of Progress
While there is more work to be done, we see encouraging signs of progress from our partners around the globe on increasing pressure on North Korea:
- Countries spanning all regions of the globe issued strong statements against the DPRK’s July 3 and July 28 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests, as well as the most recent launches and the September 3 nuclear test. These include countries that have not traditionally aligned with the United States on this matter – countries like Mexico and Sudan.
- We have seen countries expel sanctioned North Korean officials and North Korean diplomats engaged in illicit commercial or arms-related activities, and prevented certain North Korean individuals from entering or transiting their jurisdictions.
- Countries have reduced the size of the North Korean diplomatic mission in their countries, and canceled or downgraded diplomatic engagements or exchanges with North Korea. For example, Peru and Kuwait are two of several countries that reduced the size of the North Korean embassies they host.
- Across the globe, countries are beginning to view visiting North Korean official delegations with caution, recognizing that welcoming these delegations not only lends tacit support to North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missiles programs, but comes at a cost to their international reputation and relations with the United States and others.
- Countries in the Middle East, Europe, and Southeast Asia halted visa issuances to North Korean laborers and are phasing out the use of these workers, whose wages are garnished to fund the regime and its unlawful nuclear and missile programs. Malaysia deported hundreds of DPRK workers and suspended issuing further work permits.
- Other countries, such as the Republic of Korea (ROK), Japan, and Australia have implemented their own unilateral sanctions on entities violating UN sanctions. EU partners are augmenting autonomous restrictive measures to implement UN Security Council resolutions, and key European partners, particularly the UK, France, and Germany, are collaborating with us on maximizing pressure on the DPRK.
- Countries have tightened restrictions on the DPRK’s ability to use its diplomatic missions to generate revenue. For example, Germany is shutting down a hostel located on DPRK embassy grounds in Berlin.
- On August 5, ASEAN Foreign Ministers issued their strongest statement to date in response to the DPRK’s ICBM launch. Their joint statement expressed “grave concern” over the escalation of tensions and recent missile tests, expressed commitment to a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, and urged the DPRK to comply immediately with all relevant UNSC resolutions. We welcomed this strong, principled statement ahead of UNSCR 2371.
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