Washington, D.C. – Rep. Eliot L. Engel, the senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement following today’s event on the challenges posed by a nuclear North Korea hosted by the National Committee on North Korea and the National Security Network.

" I would like to acknowledge John Bradshaw of the National Security Network (NSN), and Karin Lee of the National Committee on North Korea (NCNK), for their work on the joint report that seeks to tackle the difficult issues in dealing with North Korea. I also want to thank Ambassador Chris Hill, our former lead negotiator to the Six-Party Talks, who knows first-hand the challenge of negotiating with the North Koreans.

"North Korea conducted its third nuclear test just over a year ago, and since then has taken additional steps to rebuild, restart, and expand its nuclear weapons and enrichment programs. Pyongyang is well on its way to further developing its small but viable nuclear arsenal. The North’s actions not only pose an increasingly direct threat to the United States and our allies, but also could become a driver of global nuclear proliferation.

"The U.S. must remain committed to the goal of denuclearizing North Korea, despite the many setbacks that have halted progress. We should not give up on diplomacy, because that would mean tacit acceptance of a nuclear North Korea. North Korea’s nuclear tests, ballistic missile launches, and attacks against South Korea have been obvious to the entire world, and these provocations call for a strong and unified response by the international community. We need to coordinate closely with our allies, Japan and South Korea. China also needs to play a more constructive role, as Beijing should translate its words of support for denuclearization into tangible actions.

"I’d also like to mention the horrendous human rights situation in North Korea, especially in light of the recent report by the U.N.’s Commission of Inquiry that found “unspeakable atrocities” committed by the North Korean regime. I have twice visited the North, and I can tell you that the regime would do better to help its own people rather than spend its money on nuclear weapons and missile technology. I commend the U.N. panel for its extensive work investigating human rights abuses in North Korea, and I agree with the Commission’s decision to refer its findings to the International Criminal Court for possible prosecution.

"Thank you again to NSN and NCNK for your efforts to develop solutions to the challenges posed by North Korea."