Australia's Statement to the IAEA Board of Governors Following the IAEA Director-General's Report on the Implementation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Safeguards Agreement Between the IAEA and North Korea - Vienna 6 January 2003
Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
The Australian Delegation would first like to express its full support for
the resolution just adopted by the Board.
We would like to thank you for your efforts over the past few weeks in bringing
forward a consensus resolution for adoption by the Board of Governors. We
would also like to thank the Director General and his staff for their untiring
and even-handed efforts aimed at re-establishing cooperation with the DPRK,
as outlined in document GOV/2002/62.
The reactivation by the DPRK of its nuclear program - and its decision effectively
to cease cooperation with the IAEA - is of profound concern. The international
community has a shared interest in sending a strong, unified message to North
Korea that it must abandon its nuclear weapons programs, and comply fully
with its nuclear non-proliferation obligations. That is why today's consensus
resolution is so important.
North Korea has explicit legal obligations under its NPT safeguards agreement
with the IAEA - an Agreement which remains binding and in-force. There is
also no basis for DPRK claims to "unique status" under the NPT. The
unilateral decision by the DPRK to expel IAEA inspectors and remove containment
and surveillance equipment means the Agency is unable to verify whether North
Korea is fulfilling its legal obligations. This is simply an unacceptable
situation which the DPRK must redress urgently.
Australia, for its part, has made clear to North Korea on a number of occasions
its grave concerns at its nuclear weapons program, including in meetings
between our Foreign Minister and the DPRK Ambassador to Australia. We are
continuing to use the channel offered by the DPRK Embassy in Canberra to
ensure our views are clearly understood.
North Korea's actions have raised tensions in the Korean peninsula and more
widely in the Asia-Pacific region. Australia is working actively with our
friends and allies, including in the region, to find a peaceful and constructive
In our own ongoing discussions with the DPRK, it has been made clear that
it will not be possible to develop the bilateral relationship until North
Korea demonstrates that it will abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions. An
Australian Embassy will now not be opened in Pyongyang in the foreseeable
Expelling nuclear inspectors, reactivating old nuclear facilities and heightening
tensions will not induce the international community to provide economic
support to North Korea. The DPRK must understand that it is already having
the reverse effect. The path to a constructive relationship with its neighbours
and the wider international community is for North Korea to abandon its nuclear
weapons ambitions once and for all and to allow the IAEA to verify this fact
in accordance with its legal obligations.
My Delegation would also like to emphasise that North Korea's reactivation
of its nuclear program and non-cooperation with the IAEA is a concern of
genuinely international dimensions - not simply a bilateral matter. DPRK
engagement with the IAEA is an appropriate path to finding a diplomatic solution.
The way forward for the DPRK has now been made very clear. In operative
paragraph 6 of today's resolution, the Board has identified the necessary
steps the DPRK needs to take to achieve a peaceful resolution to this issue,
which are worth reiterating:
- The DPRK must allow the re-establishment of containment
and surveillance measures at its nuclear facilities and the full implementation
of safeguards measures including the readmission of inspectors;
- It must respond to the Director General's request for
clarification on its reported uranium enrichment program;
- The DPRK must enable the Agency to verify that all nuclear
material in the DPRK is declared and subject to safeguards;
- And it must, as first practical step, meet urgently
with IAEA officials.
We cannot forget that the Board of Governors is required to act because
of its own legal obligations.
As operative paragraph 7 of the resolution makes clear, if the DPRK does
not take "all necessary steps to allow the Agency to implement all the
required safeguards measures", it will be found by the Board to be in
further non-compliance with its safeguards agreement - which would necessitate
referral to the UN Security Council.
Australia urges North Korea not to let this important opportunity pass,
and calls on the DPRK authorities to resume cooperation with the Agency,
as set out in the resolution, as a matter of urgency.
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