Australian Embassy and Permanent Mission to the United Nations
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Agenda item 5(c): Application of safeguards in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

IAEA Board of Governors

Agenda item 5(c): Application of safeguards in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

23 November 2023

Statement by H.E Ambassador Ian Biggs, Governor and Resident Representative of Australia to the IAEA



Australia continues to condemn in the strongest terms the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s ongoing pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems. The DPRK’s continued advancement of its illegal nuclear weapons programme, including long-range missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons, poses a grave threat to global stability and a serious challenge to international non-proliferation efforts.

Australia strongly condemns North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile launches and satellite launches using ballistic missile technology, which violate multiple UN Security Council resolutions.  This is reckless and unacceptable behaviour.

Since the beginning of the year, these number 28 ballistic missile launches, including 4 ICBMs, and three satellite launches.  

These irresponsible actions must stop. This Board must be unified in its demand that the DPRK comply with all UN Security Council resolutions requiring it to abandon its nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. Australia strictly enforces all UN Security Council resolutions against North Korea and encourages all countries to do likewise.

We are deeply concerned by reports of potential military cooperation with North Korea. Any transfer of arms to or from North Korea would constitute a violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions.


Australia remains deeply concerned by indications of the DPRK’s activities to prepare for a seventh nuclear test, including the maintenance of the Punggye-ri site.

Australia once again calls on the DPRK to refrain from conducting further nuclear explosive tests, and to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty without further delay.


The DPRK’s actions cannot be normalised or downplayed. The DPRK’s illegal and destabilising actions call for a strong and united response by the international community.

We urge the DPRK to cease provocations, reverse course, and make a sustained commitment to diplomacy and return to full compliance with IAEA safeguards and the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state, allowing the return of IAEA inspectors.

 The DPRK cannot and will never have the status of a nuclear-weapon State under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as stated in UN Security Council resolutions and as reaffirmed, yet again, by the IAEA General Conference.

Finally Chair

There is no scope within the international safeguards regime to accept the continued misuse of previously safeguarded facilities for the production of weapons-usable nuclear material. Australia thanks the Agency for maintaining its preparedness to play an essential role in verifying the DPRK’s nuclear programme and commends its activities to enhance and maintain this capability.

Thank you, Chair.