The United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and Japan, issued designations targeting various officials and entities associated with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) for their support to the DPRK’s unlawful development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missiles. This synchronized action demonstrates the increased strength of the trilateral relationship between the United States, Japan, and the ROK. It follows President Biden’s trilateral meeting last month with Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan and President Yoon Suk Yeol of the ROK, where the leaders condemned the DPRK’s unprecedented number of ballistic missile launches this year and resolved to strengthen deterrence and to forge closer trilateral ties in the security realm and beyond.
In the face of comprehensive U.S. and United Nations sanctions that have isolated the DPRK from the international financial system, the DPRK has turned to increasingly desperate ways to generate revenue, like virtual currency heists and other cyberthefts, to fund its weapons programs. Sanctions have been successful in slowing down the development of its unlawful weapons programs. As the DPRK adjusts its tactics in the face of international pressure, we will continue to use all available tools to further limit the growth of these destabilizing weapons programs.
As we have made clear, the door has not closed on diplomacy, but Pyongyang must cease its destabilizing actions and engage diplomatically. The DPRK’s decision to ignore our outreach is not in its best interest, nor in the interest of the people of the DPRK who continue to suffer as a result of decisions made by the regime. We will continue to coordinate closely with our allies and partners to address the threats posed by the DPRK and to advance our shared objective of the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.