U.S., S. Korea, Japan will use all available tools to limit N. Korea’s weapons programs: NSC

December 2, 2022

The United States and its allies will use all means possible to limit North Korea from further advancing its weapons programs, White House National Security Council (NSC) spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a released statement Friday.

The statement came one day after the U.S., South Korea and Japan imposed unilateral sanctions on North Korean officials and entities for supporting the North’s illegal weapons development programs.

“This synchronized action demonstrates the increased strength of the trilateral relationship between the United States, Japan, and the ROK,” Watson said in her statement, referring to South Korea by its official name, the Republic of Korea.

The U.S. designated three senior members of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party on Thursday. Seoul imposed sanctions on eight North Korean individuals and seven entities, while Tokyo followed suit by slapping sanctions on three North Korean institutions and one individual.

Watson noted that United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions on North Korea have successfully slowed the development of North Korea’s unlawful weapons programs, but that Pyongyang is now turning to “increasingly desperate ways to generate revenue, like virtual currency heists and other cyberthefts.”

“As the DPRK adjusts its tactics in the face of international pressure, we will continue to use all available tools to further limit the growth of these destabilizing weapons programs,” she said.

DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name.

North Korea fired 63 ballistic missiles this year, an annual record that far exceeds the previous record of 25.

The U.S. had sought to impose fresh UNSC sanctions on North Korea, but all 10 UNSC meetings held on North Korea this year had ended with naught due to opposition from China and Russia, both veto power-wielding permanent members of the Security Council and friendly neighbors of Pyongyang.

“We will continue to coordinate closely with our allies and partners to address the threats posed by the DPRK and to advance our shared objective of the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” said Watson.

The NSC spokesperson also reaffirmed U.S. commitment to engaging with North Korea.

“As we have made clear, the door has not closed on diplomacy, but Pyongyang must cease its destabilizing actions and engage diplomatically,” she said.

“The DPRK’s decision to ignore our outreach is not in its best interest, nor in the interest of the people of the DPRK who continue to suffer as a result of decisions made by the regime.”