Mr. REED. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my grave concern over the three-stage missile launch yesterday by North Korea. While described by Pyongyang as a simple weather satellite, the launch clearly violates United Nations Security Council Resolutions that ban the use of nuclear and missile-related technologies. The launch comes just days before the South Korean presidential election is held, timing I am sure is not a coincidence.
Pyongyang's dismissal of international pressures, as well as its continued work on missile-related technologies, pose a direct security threat to the United States and our allies, particularly South Korea. Yesterday's launch puts North Korea one step closer to obtaining a weaponized missile. As there are over 28,000 American troops currently serving on the Korean Peninsula, yesterday's actions are unacceptable and now more than ever, the United States needs to stand strong in solidarity with our South Korean counterparts.
The United States, South Korea, and other countries have been trying to engage the North Korean regime diplomatically for many years to end its program to develop nuclear weapons and delivery devices that could threaten Northeast Asia and the Western Pacific.
Despite offers of many positive incentives in the form of humanitarian aid to North Korea, Pyongyang has persisted in its belligerence. North Korea has stubbornly refused to adhere to peaceful international protocols that would boost stability and economic prosperity. This will be the second time this year it has violated its agreements.
Political stability and security of the Korean Peninsula are vital to U.S. interests and to our allies. Beyond South Korea, nations including Japan and the Philippines could be threatened by the existence of North Korean nuclear missiles. Further North Korean provocations could easily and seriously disrupt the Trans-Pacific trade relations that have developed over the past six decades.
It is the obligation of Congress to speak out when U.S. security and our economic interests are under threat. This is a clear sign that the Administration's previous policies of diplomacy, as well as the retaliatory steps taken after the failed April 13, 2012 launch, are not deterring Kim Jong-un. A stronger response is necessary.
I was pleased to see the United Nations Security Council swiftly condemn the attacks yesterday and I urge my colleagues to join me in condemning the Pyongyang regime's belligerent behavior as a threat to regional and global security. I call upon the Administration and the National Security Council to work with our counterparts in the United Nations to take appropriate steps to ensure that these actions are followed with clear consequences.