April 18, 2005- U.S. Needs to Focus on North Korea

Washington D.C.- Representative Edward J. Markey, a senior member of the House Committees on Homeland Security and Energy and Commerce and Co-Chair of the House Bipartisan Task Force on Nonproliferation, called for the U.S. to address the issue of North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons.

“The actions by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continue to demonstrate the failure of U.S. policy to stop North Korea from developing nuclear weapons,” said Rep. Markey. “The Bush Administration approach to addressing the North Korean nuclear program has failed. When are we going wake up and realize our policy is not working?”

According to reports, North Korea has shut down its reactor at its main nuclear weapons complex. Spy satellite photographs of the reactor show that the plant was shut down or shifted to a very low power level at least ten days ago. The powering down of the reactor could signal that North Korea is preparing to extract fuel rods. The next steps would be to reprocess the plutonium from the fuel rods to weaponsusable grade and the creation of new nuclear bombs.

“Our message to Pyongyang should be that we are not willing to allow them to have nuclear materials and technology, but that we are willing to join with other nations to provide them with economic and energy assistance if they abandon their nuclear program in a verifiable manner,” concluded Markey. “With the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) Review Conference only a few weeks away, it is critical that we take deliberate steps towards addressing the nuclear threats posed by North Korea – we cannot continue to ignore the problem and hope it will go away.”

April 18, 2005
 CONTACT: Tara McGuinness