The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Media Release

FA11 - 13 February 2003

UN Security Council to Consider North Korea's Nuclear Non-Compliance

I welcome the decision to report North Korea's failure to comply with its nuclear non-proliferation obligations to the United Nations Security Council.

The decision was taken overnight by the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

Addressing North Korea's non-compliance with nuclear safeguards under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty demands the highest international attention.

As a threat to international peace and security, this issue falls squarely within the Security Council's responsibilities.

I am disappointed that North Korea did not take the opportunity offered by the IAEA's Board of Governors last month to fulfil its nuclear safeguards obligations.

North Korea instead exacerbated deep international concern about its nuclear intentions by announcing its withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

As one of 35 members of the IAEA Board of Governors, Australia supported the decision to report this issue to the Security Council.

The decision sends a further strong message that North Korea's failure to comply with its nuclear non-proliferation obligations will be met by firm international resolve.

Once again, I strongly urge North Korea to step back from the path it is taking.

Australia is committed to working with other countries to resolve this issue diplomatically and will continue its efforts to find a way forward.

Media inquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) 02 62777500 / Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 1555