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Condeming North Korea for Attack Against South Korea

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this resolution, and I yield myself such time as I may consume.

A little over a week ago on November 23, North Korea launched a brazen daytime artillery barrage on a South Korean island inhabited by civilians. North Korea fired over 100 rounds at Yeonpyeong Island, killing two South Korean civilians and two young Marines. The shelling also caused considerable damage to the island.

This provocative military act by North Korea was one of the most serious attacks involving civilians since the end of the Korean War and is in violation of the Armistice Agreement.

This bipartisan resolution strongly condemns North Korea's unprovoked attack, calls on the North to renounce further acts of aggression and abide by the terms of the Armistice Agreement.

I would also like to express my deepest sympathies and condolences to the South Korean victims and their families.

This resolution expresses the House of Representatives' firm solidarity with the people and the government of South Korea. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them at this time of national crisis.

This resolution also expresses support for the continued close security cooperation between the United States and South Korea and for the alliance between our two nations. Indeed, a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group is currently conducting exercises with the South Korean Navy in waters west of the Korean Peninsula. This exercise demonstrates the strength of the alliance and of U.S. commitment to regional stability through deterrence.

The United States is committed to the security of South Korea, maintaining stability on the Korean Peninsula, and ensuring peace in Northeast Asia. We are ready to encourage cooperation and dialogue with our allies and other countries in the region to promote peace and security in the Asia-Pacific.

Last week's artillery attack was just the latest in a long line of provocations by North Korea. The recent revelations about a new North Korean uranium enrichment facility are very troubling, as it will enable North Korea to again expand its nuclear arsenal.

The construction of this enrichment facility is a clear violation of Security Council resolutions that were passed in 2006 and 2009. We call on North Korea to cease its uranium enrichment activities, take concrete steps to dismantle all of its nuclear facilities, and fully and transparently abide by the relevant Security Council resolutions.

Finally, this resolution urges China to restrain North Korea from further acts of belligerence and to work constructively with the rest of the world to promote lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula and stability in Northeast Asia.

A longtime treaty ally of the North, China can clearly exercise significant leverage on that nation. No one wants to see another war on the Korean Peninsula, but North Korea must understand that its actions have consequences, that it cannot violate the Armistice, kill innocent civilians and break its international obligations.

I urge all of my colleagues to support this resolution.

I reserve the balance of my time.


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