Washington, DC – Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today expressed deep concern over North Korea’s aggression against South Korea.
“Today’s artillery attack by North Korea is a grave threat to peace on the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang should cease immediately its aggressive actions. I would also like to express my sympathy to the South Korean people for the loss of life and destruction of property as a result of the North’s attack.
“North Korea’s hostility seriously undermines regional peace and stability. I especially urge China to play a more active role in persuading North Korea to stop its belligerence; a destabilized Korean Peninsula is in no one’s interest – least of all China, North Korea’s nearest neighbor and ally. China should immediately suspend economic and energy assistance to show Pyongyang that its aggression has consequences.
“This is just the latest in a long line of outrageous provocations by North Korea. This weekend’s revelations about a new, operational uranium enrichment plant is among the most worrisome, as it will enable North Korea to again expand its nuclear arsenal.
“We have known for some time that North Korea has been pursuing a uranium enrichment capability, and was assisted in this effort by A.Q. Khan’s network. It is not clear if Pyongyang also received assistance from other international sources, and if such outside support continues to the present day.
“These revelations about the North Korean enrichment facility, taken together with Iran's similar enrichment program, underscore the urgent need for the international community to impose strict new regulations on the trade in uranium enrichment equipment and other sensitive technologies that can be used to make nuclear weapons. A useful place to begin would be for all international suppliers of civil nuclear equipment to require that all recipients forswear the acquisition of any new national uranium enrichment or reprocessing facility or activities as a condition of supply.”